A PILLAR, A SHIELD, and A NEW NAME

 

How quickly things change.

 

Tuesday, we buried my friend, my sister in Christ, my worship ministry partner, a person I greatly loved and admired. And the thing is, everybody felt the same way I did about her. She loved everyone, and everyone loved her. When Kim left this earth, she left a hole in our hearts and a vacancy in our church that only God can fill.

 

But this morning, as I was reminiscing, praying, and thinking about how to begin August’s newsletter, the LORD gave me a word – PILLAR – and the phrase, “…a pillar in the temple of My God….”[1]  I felt Jesus say to my heart, “Kim is one of My pillars. She shall go out no more. I have written My new name on her and the name of My city – the New Jerusalem.”

 

Tears escaped and wet my cheeks—tears of happiness for her—and tears of sadness for me and for those who miss her. Kim is seeing our God face to face, something she had longed to do since she met Him. He is keeping her close to His heart because that’s where she’s been pretty much all her earthly life. I believe Kim stands tall, strong, and immovable in His court—singing His praises with perfection and encouraging all who enter.

 

But through my tears, another “pillar” Scripture jumped off the page and into my heart. It’s not the same word or meaning, but with this addition, my LORD comforted me, answered prayer, and began to write the newsletter. Only God could take two passages of Scripture—one from the New Testament and one from the Old—and, in a split second of time—accomplish three things. O LORD my God—how Holy You are.

 

Earlier I had asked several times for the newsletter’s opening and the words to write—yet nothing came. But after reading Exodus 13, I knew. God’s tenth plague had just hit Egypt. In the middle of the night, Pharoah released Israel and Moses rushed them out. They had not packed provisions, and bread dough remained in bowls, unleavened. Wrapping their bowls with aprons, Israel headed for the Promised Land.

 

But God didn’t lead them on the normal road back to Canaan. Instead, he led them by way of the wilderness—hot, barren, desolate land with few oases. Goshen, Egypt had abundant food and water and being slaves for 400 years, these people had no idea how to take care of themselves in the wilderness.

 

Yet the LORD knew this and desired Israel to depend on Him. He understood their needs, abilities, what He wanted to accomplish, AND how He would do it. The Almighty Himself would Shepherd Israel. The Most High God went before them “…by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light….”[2]

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But did the cloud and pillar provide only direction and light?
 

“No,” the LORD taught. “Such a phenomenon would shield Israel from hostile locals. And the pillar of fire deterred wild animals looking for an easy meal.” All because, as the LORD God showed me, He “…is a sun AND shield….”[3]

 

David sang, “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head…You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.[4]

 

What a glorious thought to hold when traveling through our own wilderness! Knowing our SHIELD, Who is our Pillar of Cloud and Fire, directs our steps and gives light to our path [5] comforts us. And when we take our final breath, having overcome by remaining faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ—He makes us, like Kim, a pillar in His temple. He will write on us the name of God, the name of the New Jerusalem, and His new name that no one knows except Himself.[6] Halleluia!



[1] Revelation 3:12

[2] Exodus 13:20-22

[3] Psalm 84:11a

[4] Psalm 3:3; Psalm 5:12

[5] Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 119:105

[6] Revelation 3:12; Revelation 19:12

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