SHOULDER TO SHOULDER IN ONE ACCORD
My word from God today is "shoulder" or maybe I should say it's more like "shoulder to shoulder." The latter phrase took the forefront of my thoughts pretty strongly. We live in a country of many fatherless young men who would give their right arm to stand shoulder to shoulder with their dads. The problem is something's missing and it's the dads. Children need parents, but when those parents are missing they shoulder a heavy burden of pain.
Mentors help carry the burden for young people with missing parents. After we prayed last night, Mike gave a nice testimonial about his life and why we were there. The young men remained shoulder to shoulder and listened intently as he spoke. By duplicating those moments and forming deeper relationships with the young men, we know that God the Father can help them to know a Father's Love. I'm grateful to God that He put a calling on the lives of people like Mike and Kelly to reach out to young people.
Many other thoughts about shoulders came to mind this morning. The young people in the picture above did something that was one of the hardest things they ever had to do - they hiked up a mountain. They all arrived separately, but stood as one on top of the mountain. Jesus shouldered His cross and on His shoulders and hiked up a hill called Golgotha. He shouldered our sin. I found a great verse about shoulders in Zephaniah 3:9. Before I dive a little deeper into this verse, let me give you a four different versions to give us a greater flavor.
King James Version
“For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord,
to serve him with one consent.”
“Then I will give to the peoples [clear and pure speech from] purified lips [which reflect their purified hearts], That all of them may call on the name of the Lord,
To serve Him shoulder to shoulder (united).
International Children's Bible
A New Day for God’s People
“Then I will make the people of all nations speak a pure language. All of them will speak the name of the Lord. And they will worship me together.”
God Is in Charge at the Center
“In the end I will turn things around for the people. I’ll give them a language undistorted, unpolluted,
Words to address God in worship and,
united, to serve me with their shoulders to the wheel.”
The word for consent in the King James Version is the Hebrew word "shĕkem" which has the following meaning according to the Blue Letter Bible, שְׁכֶם shᵉkem, shek-em'; from H7925; the neck (between the shoulders) as the place of burdens; figuratively, the spur of a hill:—back, × consent, portion, shoulder.
Every time I get to pray with young people, I know that we're in one accord. When great folks like Nehemiah and Daniel prayed, they took the sins of all the people on their own shoulders. They didn't stand around and blame other folks, they shared and shouldered the burden. I thinks it's time to do some "sharing of the shouldering" for young people struggling from parentlessness.
DAY ONE WORD
Psalm 55:22 MSG
“Pile your troubles on God's shoulders - he'll carry your load, he'll help you out.
He'll never let good people topple into ruin.”
Isaiah 46:4 AMP
“Even to your old age I am He,
And even to your advanced old age I will carry you!
I have made you, and I will carry you;
Be assured I will carry you and I will save you.”
Psalm 34:17 ICB
“The Lord hears good people when they cry out to him.
He saves them from all their troubles.”
Galatians 6:1-3 MSG
Nothing but the Cross
“Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.”
DAY EIGHT PRAYER
Thank you God for your shoulders. There is no weight too heavy that you can't carry. Young people without a loving father find it hard to know the Father's love. We admit our collective failings as parents. We haven't done enough for kids without parents. Time is of the essence, God. Help us shoulder the burden of parentlessness and carry it to a place of nonexistence. Amen.
DAY EIGHT DEEP THOUGHTS
- Young people in low paying jobs might be just going through the motions. When you see a young person at the checkout line, can you offer a word of encouragement?
- Go the extra mile to form a relationship with a young person in your neighborhood. Offer to share a shoulder when you see someone with a burden - physical, mental or emotional.
- Can you tell a homeless person that you're proud of him?
- Precious Words: "I know I'm not your father, but as a father I want you to know I'm proud of you and I know your Father God is proud of you."