11 Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings 12 and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the Lord.
29 “Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord. 30 Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.
36 “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: holy to the Lord.
38 It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the Lord.
Exodus 28:12, 29-30, 36, 38 (New International Version)
Finding Your Role
Have you ever wondered what your purpose is in the Kingdom of God? In Exodus 28, the Lord instructed Moses in how the dress his brother Aaron and his sons in the uniform of the priesthood. As I read this chapter, I found myself asking what was the purpose of the Levitical priesthood (which Aaron was a part of); after all, there was nothing special about them aside from being called by God to the service. The design of their garments provides clues to the role the priests were to play in the God’s design.
Called to Represent
Their first function was to serve as representatives of the nation before the Lord; sort of like ambassadors for Israel. This role was represented in the shoulder pieces that they wore. Written on these articles were the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, so in a way, they were carrying the nation on their shoulders.
Called to Bear Judgement
Another function of the priests was to bear upon themselves God’s judgement that was caused by the sins of the nation. This was symbolized by the breastplate that they wore called the breastplate of judgement. Inside this equipment were twelve stones that represented each tribe. They were essentially bearing the guilt of the people on their hearts.
Called to be Set Apart
The task placed upon the priests must have been a challenging one. It is one thing to try to atone for your own sins, but to bear the guilt of an entire nation must have been staggering. Yet, despite the sin that they had, Aaron and his sons were shown grace by God and He set them apart to serve the people. This is signified with the head piece that they wore which had engraved on it: Holy to the Lord. I can imagine that this gave peace to Aaron knowing that the Almighty would help him as he proceeded with his priestly duties.
Called in Christ
Like the Levitical priesthood, we Christians have a purpose in God’s kingdom. While we may not need special clothes to perform our work, we are clothed with something far better. When we confessed our sins and accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, we became clothed in Christ.
In Jesus, we are set apart by God to do amazing work in His kingdom. If you are not sure what your role is in the Lord’s work, go and find the places where there is a need and soon He will reveal where your ministry is. It will be difficult at first, but since we are clothed in Christ, let us find peace knowing that God is with us every step of the way.