How do you introduce yourself? I think you probably have a couple of scripts depending on the setting you are in. I always find these moments very difficult. I carry a fair few labels that would describe me: wife, mother, author, artist, blogger … but I also have labels that aren’t quite as attractive and attack who I am.
This section in Exodus is literally describing a label that GOD had said that Aaron and the priests were to wear.
36 ‘Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: holy to the Lord. 37 Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. 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 28:36-38
Holy to the Lord – it was a label and a sign that the priests wore on their foreheads as they dealt with the sin of the people. But in our reality, it wasn’t true. They weren’t holy, not really. The priests were only different to the rest of the people because they were from the Levite tribe. They still made mistakes, they still sinned they were only human. They had to make sacrifices for themselves as well as the Israelite nation. Their holiness was just the same as everyone else. They had specific rituals to perform that would have caused them to die had their status as ‘Holy to the Lord’ not been given to them by GOD.
This label was to be worn as a reminder of what GOD had said they were and ordained them to be. It was a declaration of GOD over his chosen ones. Their ‘Holy to the Lord’ identity was to be carried out in the day to day offerings of their lives and was a prophetic statement over them for their future in eternity. Their identity was fulfilled in GOD and by GOD. In His eternal reality it was true.
There is power in that label. It was engraved in gold so that it would not rub off but would be permanent. It was tied over the turban that was worn on their heads. Even this makes me stop and think. The names of the tribes were written over the heart of the priest (see my last post – My Name is Graven on His Hands) and the label of identity was written over the mind. GOD’s design for the priestly garments was not a mistake or made on a whim. He knows that identity has to be imprinted in our minds.
I so easily think I hear what others say about me and concoct what they think of me. I create labels for myself. I am swayed by how I am seen in the futile and brief passing of this lifetime. How many times have I accepted one of those negative labels about myself? How much influence have those labels carried in my everyday living? If I were to wear the permanent and GOD given label over my mind, I would have to challenge most, if not all, of those other labels. What GOD says over me is eternal, creative (it produces life) and true. It is such a battle to accept the truth because there is one that wants you to be weighed down with lies. I wonder if you would be brave and ask GOD what He says about you right now … you could even leave a comment as a testament of what He said.
Holy to the Lord – This is the truth that those who trust in Jesus can stand in today, this minute whether we have just messed up or not. We are Holy to the Lord because of another crown that was worn against the forehead of a truly holy man. Jesus willingly wore a crown of thorns on his head so that I am given the golden label of ‘Holy to the Lord’. His description of me is permanent and irrevocable. Like he said … ‘It is finished.’
The things that GOD says I am are to be lived out day to day as if I am already that person. His declaration is both what I am to be and what I am. It is both a walking into that identity and a standing firm in who He has already stated I am.