ARE YOUR SHOULDERS STRONG?
To work hard you need good strong shoulders. I remember when I broke my shoulder and how it incapacitated me. It is a number of years since this happened and I still don't have my full capacity back.
We often hear, or say the saying, "Put your shoulder to the wheel." It comes from the image of an old-fashioned farm wagon or cart that is stuck in the mud. The way to get it moving is to put your shoulder up against it and push and shove hard. It means to put your best effort into a task until it is completed, to work persistently and wholeheartedly. In other words, "Get stuck in!"
We want our children to grow up with this kind of work ethic, don't we? However, they will only learn it as they see us with this attitude. They learn from our example more than what we say.
The shoulders are also used to carry burdens and weights. When the children of Israel left Egypt, they carried their kneading troughs on their shoulders (Exodus 12:34). When it was time for the Israelites to move on in their wilderness journeys, the Kohathites were in charge of carrying all the furnishings in the tabernacle on their shoulders (Numbers 4:15 and 7:9). However, it was the Levites who were commanded to carry the ark of God upon their shoulders (1 Chronicles 15:15 and 2 Chronicles 35:3). What a privilege to carry the presence of God.
Do you remember when David decided to bring up the ark of God to Jerusalem? With great excitement they carried the ark on a new cart. But, it ended in catastrophe! The ark began to shake and Uzzah put forth his hand to steady it, but God immediately smote him. David was filled with fear. What had he done wrong? He feared to bring the ark any further and left it at the home of Obed-edom (2 Samuel 6:1-11).
However, after David became aware of the blessing of God upon Obed-edom's house, he desired again to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem. This time he sought to find the correct way to carry the ark--upon the shoulders of the priests. David said in 1 Chronicles 15:2, "None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him forever." He then told the Levites, "Sanctify yourselves ... that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it. For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order" (1 Chronicles 15:12-14).This time, instead of fear and sadness, they brought home the ark of God with GREAT JOY--shouting, singing, dancing, and many musical instruments.
The Bible talks about carrying children on our shoulders (Isaiah 49:22). Have you found that you have become stronger as you mother? Your strengthen your shoulders as you carry your children around. Your arms are strengthened too. Proverbs 31:17 testifies that the mother in her home "strengthens her arms." She does this with housework, digging and planting her garden, but most of all through carrying her babies and little ones.
Another way we carry our children on our shoulders is in prayer. When God designed the High Priest's garments, He told them to take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the twelve sons of Israel. They had to engrave six names on one stone and six on the other and then fasten the stones on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod. Exodus 28:12 NLT says, "Aaron will carry these names on his shoulders as a constant reminder whenever he goes before the Lord."
As we have noted, the shoulders speak of bearing a burden. It is the responsibility of each of us parents to take the burden of our children upon us as we go to the Lord in prayer. We take their names upon us, lifting up each one individually in the presence of the Lord. You will find the best time for you to do this each day. My husband and I like to bring the individual names of all our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to the Lord in prayer before we get up to start the day.
May God strengthen you as you bear your children upon your shoulders in the place of prayer.
Blessings from Nancy Campbell
Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you that no matter how bleak things may look in the world, I do not need to worry for the government of the world is upon your shoulders. You alone can bear it and will perform all things according to your will. Amen."
I am daily strengthening my prayer shoulders for the sake of my children.