On gray, cold, Fall days like today when my kids were little, I loved to have them sit on my lap under a blanket and read them stories. They would snuggle close to my chest and we’d read book after book while rocking in a rocker. We felt safe, secure, loved, and cared for.
Today as I entered the pages of Exodus, I felt like this as I read these words:
“Then mount four rows of precious stones…..carnelian, chrysolite, beyrl, turquoise, lapis, lazuli, emerald, jacinth, agate, amethyst, topaz, onyx and jasper. Mount them in gold filigree settings. There are to be twelve stones, one for the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved with like a seal.”
“Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the son of Israel over the heart as a continuing memorial before the Lord.”
As I sat in my own rocking chair, curled up in a blanket on a cold autumn day, the image of God taking beautiful stones, carving names of His precious children, and strategically placing them over His heart blessed me. I felt like a child curled in the lap of my caretaker, feeling secure, safe, loved, and cared for.
Come with me as we crawl into the lap of our High Priest.
The clothing God planned for His High Priest to wear included the placement of His children’s names written over the priest’s heart. Each name was engraved in precious stones. Each stone was different, but brilliant in color and composite. Engraved stones were mounted in an intricate, ornamental fitting made of gold. When worn, these stones would rest securely over the heart of the wearer. A memorial the Lord said. A reminder to the Lord and the High Priest that the names of these people were precious. His children, placed closest to His heart.
I wonder if that’s how my children felt as toddlers and preschoolers curled up next to my heart with my arms wrapped around them. Precious. Honored. Chosen.
The same God that placed the names of His children close to the heart of the High Priest then, also places their names there today. As children of the Most High God, He knows each of us.
“This is what the Lord says …. I have called you by name. You are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
Some days I need to feel God’s favor. Not just know it, but feel it….. needing to crawl into His lap like a small child and have His arms curl around me and say, You are precious and honored in my sight (Isaiah 43:4). You are mine.”
I’m encouraged today by this picture of God engraving our names on precious stones. Your name, your child’s name, your loved one’s name. Beautifully scripted on a stone representing everything precious about you and your personality. Thoughtfully placed in beautiful, ornate settings of pure gold and fastened securely. Then placed over His heart. We can’t get any closer to Him than this.
The High Priest of Israel came into the Presence of God interceding for God’s children. Jesus Christ is our High Priest today, continually interceding for us (Hebrews 7:25). God sets us in a place of precious honor over Jesus’ heart as a continuing memorial before Him.
Needing to feel secure, loved and cared for? You’re placed as precious stone over Jesus’ heart, where He always intercedes for you.
Some days, I need this assurance. I don’t always feel precious and honored in His sight. All I need to do is step out of my front door for reminders of how unlovely and sinful I am. My kids and husband remind me. On a typical day in the Yoder house, they don’t walk around hailing me as precious and honored.
What a blessing and promise we have that God’s favor and care isn’t dependent on our humanness. The Isrealites had the Presence of God over them day and night and they messed up minute after minute. Yet God still placed them in a place of honor over His heart. As He does for you and me. We are His.
If you’re needing Jesus as Caretaker today, one whose lap you can curl up into, know He’s picked you up, placed you gently in his arms, and is reminding you that you are close to His heart. No matter what you’re experiencing, your name is engraved and firmly held in place where His love radiates eternally. It never ends. His Son, your High Priest, is interceding every moment for you.
My prayer for each of you today is that you’ll feel safe, secure, loved, and cared for by your Heavenly Father even when the weather and people around you are cold and gray. You’re securely placed over the breast-place of His heart.
He’s even holding you now, singing “Jesus Love Me“,
can’t you hear him?
The rest of the song goes like this,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. The flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord for God. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid for I am with you.” Isaiah 4
Lord Jesus, thank you that your Word never fails, that it is living and active. Thank you for this image of being placed over your heart. Thank you that you know each of our names and you honor and esteem each of us with an unfailing, never ending love. Thank you that Your Son is interceding for us each moment, that we are never out of your thoughts or prayers. Dear Jesus, hold closely today those who need to feel your safe, secure, and loving arms. Thank you for caring for our every need. Amen.