Psalm 144:11-15 (NKJV)
11 Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, Whose mouth speaks lying words, And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood— 12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, Sculptured in palace style; 13 That our barns may be full, Supplying all kinds of produce; That our sheep may bring forth thousands And ten thousands in our fields; 14 That our oxen may be well laden; That there be no breaking in or going out; That there be no outcry in our streets. 15 Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!
Here in our text today, our Lord Jesus identifies why it is that he prays for God to rescue Him and His people from His enemies, from those not in covenant with Him, who are prone to deceit and falsehood. And the first thing that He identifies, the main reason why He wants God to protect and guard us, is for you young folks out there. He prays so that the sons and daughters of Zion may grow into maturity in the midst of their youth. “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daugthers may be as pillars, sculptured in palace style.”
Jesus’ prayer reveals to us not only his desire for our protection from enemies but also His vision for young adulthood. Our Lord hungers for you young adults, young men and young women alike, to grow into maturity. He wants young men to be like plants grown up – fruitful, strong, resistant to disease – in your youth. He doesn’t want you to wait until your twenties or thirties like so many. He wants you to be mature now – so how are you doing striving for it?
Likewise, he prays for the daughters of Zion that they may be as pillars, sculpted in palace style. Since we have been doing a series of exhortations on the lessons young women teach us, it is fitting that we get a sense of Jesus’ vision for young womanhood here. First, note that he wants you to be pillars. And what is the purpose of a pillar? Pillars hold things up. They are strong, steady, stable. Notice in this young ladies, that Jesus’ vision for your calling in the Church is to be a source of stability, strength, wisdom, and gravitas. Young women – at one level because of your sensitivity to art, beauty, and spirituality, at another because of your immense influence upon young men – Jesus’ has put you in our midst to hold us up in your labors, in your prayers, and in your purity.
But beware that as a pillar you truly are what you portray yourself to be. Our word sincere comes from two Latin words, sine – which means without – and cera – which means wax. A sincere person is a person without wax. For you see ancient Rome, just like modern America, had her unscrupulous contractors. And these builders were often contracted to make marble columns. But it was quite a task to find the right kind of marble and craft and polish it to perfection. So some builders would take shortcuts. They would fill the gaps and cracks in their piece of marble with wax. Only when the column collapsed would the trickery be revealed – and it might be a few years out. So make sure that you are a sincere pillar.
But not only does Jesus pray that you would be pillars, he also prays that you would be one sculpted in palace style. Jesus knows that pillars come in various designs. A rough yewn log pole can be a pillar. Not very lovely but it does the job. That’s not the kind of pillar for which the Lord prays. He doesn’t want just a sturdy pole, he wants a beautiful column, one whose beauty makes all those around stand in awe. That pole barn you saw on your way to worship may be just as sturdy as the Acropolis in Athens – but who would dare claim it is just as lovely? I remember Douglas Wilson telling the story of the atheist Edward Tabash’s visit to Moscow when Tabash remarked at dinner, “I’ve never met so many beautiful, confident women.”
So what does this beauty look like? Peter tells us, “Do not let your adornment [your beauty] be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” This is the beauty that our Lord Jesus desires for you – a beauty which shall be a source of strength, stability, and glory for the Church of God.
Reminded that our Lord Jesus prays for us, that he prays for our young men and young women to be mature even in their youth, let us seek the Lord’s forgiveness for failing to value maturity. Let us kneel together.