And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial. (Exo 28:12)
And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually. And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually. (Exo 28:29-30)
As God was giving the details for worship in the Tabernacle, He provided an illustration for those of us that have the spiritual oversight of others.
The names of the tribes of the children of Israel were to be engraved upon stones and placed strategically in two places upon the wardrobe of the high priest as he attended his duties.
Each of these places teach us an aspect of our duties. The names were to be on stones on the shoulders of the priest and over his heart. Let’s learn the lessons.
Their names before the Lord – a picture of intercession
In each case (on the shoulders and upon the heart) it is spoken of as being taken “before the Lord” This speaks of our job of interceding for others.
There is an expectation of intercession
God expects us to pray for one another (James 5:16) especially those over whom we have responsibility.
We are sinning when we fail to pray for them
Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: (1Sa 12:23)
There is an exactness of intercession
Their names written upon the stones speaks of our need to remember them by name and by need. It is too easy to pray blanket prayers. “Lord, bless all my pupils…”
Their names upon his shoulders – a picture of a burden
Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.
It is a burden of responsibility.
A load on our shoulders. A job we must be doing and for which we will be held accountable.
It is a burden to relieve.
As we have their names upon our shoulders, we are to put our shoulders to the task and load and LIFT, helping them, by prayer, to bear their load.
Their names upon our heart – a picture of compassion
Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually
Over the heart directs us to take them before the Lord in the devotion of love
Over the heart directs us to take them before the Lord with the desire for their good judgments
Over the heart directs us to take them before the Lord in a dedication continually.
Let’s take the names of our people before the Lord often and specifically.