'Day One' Blog

Stones of Remembrance

And Aaron shall bear their names

before the LORD
on his shoulders
for remembrance.
Exodus 28:12

Two onyx stones, enclosed in settings of gold filigree, each having 6 names of the sons of Israel engraved on them, in order of their birth. Aaron was to bear these before the LORD on his shoulders… for remembrance. I was asking the LORD who this was for. He wanted their names facing upward, toward Him. And why? Who needed to remember? He doesn’t forget His sons and daughters.

As I’ve been happily plodding through these chapters in Exodus, transcribing for myself all the detail of the constructing of the tabernacle and now the priestly garments, I’m amazed over and over again by the specificity of the instructions God gave to Moses. But this particular detail, these stones of remembrance… my heart is struck by the tenderness of God toward the sons of Israel.

Aaron bore their names before the LORD. This was God’s idea; His instruction. How highly personal. As Aaron would move about within the tabernacle, performing his priestly duties, those names would be in “view of God.” The LORD would “see” them… always.

The names were on Aaron’s shoulders, facing upward. He was literally bearing them on his shoulders. Visions of a shepherd carrying a lamb come to mind. Or the command to bear one another’s burdens… the part we play in each other’s lives so that we are not solely burdened with the full weight of our cares.

And finally, the names were before the LORD, on Aaron’s shoulders… for remembrance. For all that has been pondered about this over millennia, here is the life-giving thought for me this morning: As God peers “down” He sees His children, not in mass but singularly, recognizing each of us by name. He sees us as we carry the burdens of one another; as we carry “upon our shoulders” the names of those who would be driven to the ground were they to have to bear them alone.

I have many stones of remembrance on my shoulders this morning, facing upward so God can “see.” I have loved ones laden with cares who I bring before Him. Their names are engraved on the stones. As I slip into my priestly garments, in view of the Living God, I praise Him with renewed passion and vigor. God sees. God knows. God acts. The LORD has asked that I bear their names before Him, on my shoulders… for remembrance.


  • Luann Budd

    I loved your reflections on this passage of Scripture and the beautiful image of having the leaders of the tribes of Israel always lifted up before the Lord. We’ve been talking about Aaron’s blessing and the goodness of the Lord’s face shining and being turned toward us — and I wonder if having their stones on Aaron’s shoulders was also a way for them to metaphorically have the Lord’s face shining on them:

    “The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

    24 “The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
    25 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
    26 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’

    27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

    Thank you for blessing me with your reflections today.

    • Anne Barbour

      What an honor to have your thoughts here Luann. Yes, what aspect of God’s masterful design does not spill out on the others. God has been showing us His heart, His tenderness toward us, right from the beginning!

  • Shirley Barber

    You bless me dear Anne, with the depth and richness
    of your thoughts. Carrying and being carried before
    our God for His remembrance… thank you.

  • Gail

    Great words my friend…..I too have many loved ones to lift up to our wonderful Lord…..who loves them far more than I ever could!! Blessings Anne Barbour!! Keep up the good work!! :)

  • Anonymous

    What a joy to read this. What a joy and awesome privilege we have to carry these stones of remembrance before God. Knowing that He sees and cares in such a personal way is such an encouragement.

  • Stacy

    This is so beautiful, Anne. It’s such a comfort to read your words as I, too, have many loved ones that I’m lifting up to Him.

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