There is holiness in the heaviness
This year I made it a goal to read the Bible in a year. Today I’m 64 days into my journey of relentlessly pursuing Christ and I’m astounded at all that I am gleaning from His Word. Things I had never noticed before are jumping off the page. I’m beginning to make connections between the living Word of God on the pages of my Bible and the daily happenings of my life.
I had tried to read some books of the Bible before, but I found myself glazing over with the overwhelming repetition of details and numbers. However, since reading in chronological order and with a group of some 800 women around the world, I have found new accountability. I have found new strength and a holy fire desire to draw near to Him that keeps me moving through what some may consider dry patches.
In the midst of all the numbers and the long list of duties for the priestly clans in Numbers 4, one verse, in particular, stood out to me. I found myself reading it a second time. Maybe even a third. And as I meditated on the verse, I gleaned beautiful insight.
“After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, only then are the Kohathites to come and do the carrying.” –Numbers 4:15
The Kohathite tribal clan was set apart. They were set apart to carry the most holy things. They were to carry the ark of the covenant law, the plates and dishes and bowls made of precious metals, the jars for drink offerings, the lampstand and lamps, all the jars for the olive oil, the gold altar, and the articles used for ministering at the altar—the firepans, meat forks, shovels, and sprinkling bowls. Take a minute to let that long list sink in. Can you imagine the sheer volume of all these things? Can you imagine the extreme weight of these solid, precious metals? Can you even begin to fathom carrying these things? I mean, really carrying these things. I'm not talking about loading them onto a dolly and pushing them somewhere and I'm certainly not referring to loading them in the trunk of your car and driving from point A to point B. The Kohathites were tasked with carrying the holy things. Every single last one of them.
This past weekend I experienced a tiny inkling of what the weight of these things may have felt like. My husband and I are beginning a DIY kitchen renovation soon, and our butcher block countertop was delivered in two enormous pieces—in the middle of our driveway. We were forced to lift the pieces of acacia wood that measured 10 feet by 2 feet each. I was amazed at the weight of each one and by how old and out-of-shape I felt since stopping Crossfit. Acacia. I recognized the wood type from my Bible. So once my duties were complete, I referred back to Exodus 37 and the construction of the ark.
“Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. He overlaid it with pure gold, both inside and out, and made a gold molding around it. He cast four gold rings for it and fastened them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. Then he made poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.” –Exodus 37:1-4
The dimensions of the box roughly measured about 4 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet high. What I had lifted earlier at 10 feet by 2 feet was just a little smaller, and significantly lighter, what without all the gold coating or the poles.
I sat at my Bible for a moment, drifting off in thought. I couldn’t imagine carrying heavier and carrying it for a long distance. I had moved some 10 feet and felt winded. Although a Kohathite would be carrying the items with 3 others—I do not downplay the weight of it at all. In my mind's eye, I imagined the weight of the poles. I imagined how the Kohathites must have looked like oxen with glorious yokes of gold on their shoulders.
Though they may have struggled to take each step,
though they may have struggled to walk in unison,
though their shoulders may have been bruised and aching,
I’m convinced there was holiness in the heaviness.
I'm convinced there was holiness in the heaviness because they were carrying the holy artifacts from the Tabernacle. They were carrying the precious possessions from within the holy of holies. And they, of all the priests, were specifically set apart to do so.
And as I reflected on the holiness of carrying something so heavy for God and for His namesake, my mind naturally wandered to the New Testament. My mind wandered to the image of The One who carried a heavy piece of wood, who was nailed upon it, and who bore the heaviest weight of all—the sins of the world.
Yes, there is no better example to illustrate there is holiness in the heaviness than Jesus.
When he took on the weight of the sins of the world—past, current, and future—he defeated death. He solidified our place in heaven and the possibility of our eternal life with Him. There is nothing holier than our promised proximity to Him in the Kingdom of God.
I thank God for Jesus. I thank Him for being willing to carry the heavy so that we could experience the holy.
Pause and Reflect:
What heaviness have you carried in this life that has sanctified you, refining you to make you more holy and Christ-like?
Pieces of Jessika©