“May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of the palace” Ps 144:12
A reflection on the intrinsic value of women in the Kingdom of God.
I have been so struck by this verse in Psalm 144. Why would King David pray that the nation’s daughters would be like pillars? We might be tempted to think that pillars were beautiful and therefore ornamental but this verse does not allow us to limit its meaning to mere decoration, these pillars are cut for the structure of the palace. So what does it tell us about these daughters?
Firstly they are cut. There is a shaping involved. Shaping to make them fit. Blocks of stone are transformed into (usually) circular form.Shaping can be painful but pain is not always destructive and purposeless. Here it produces strength and beauty. (Another image of this comes from the New Testament when Jesus talks about the vinedresser pruning vine branches which do not bear fruit.)
They are cut for the structure of the palace. It wouldn’t be a palace without structure. The structure is what holds the palace up. These pillars are essential; they are at corner intersections between walls holding them in place.
Pillars are strong; the rest of the building is strengthened by them. They support the roof or even other floors.
Pillars stand tall; they withstand all pressure and remain standing.
Pillars are long-lasting – often the only features that last when all the other elements of a building have gone.
Pillars are often beautiful but they are not merely decorative, they are not just an add on, they have purpose.
Pillars effortlessly and elegantly carry weight. They are designed for this.
Pillars don’t stand alone (you don’t see a solitary pillar holding up a roof). In large buildings such as described in this verse there are many pillars.
This is such a wonderful picture of Christian womanhood. Strong, beautiful and purposeful. Women are essential to the strength of the building – it won’t stand without them.Women have purpose. Women carry weight, this may be as you mother your children, teach, disciple, give pastoral support, share the gospel, work with the disadvantaged, engage with your neighbourhood community, write novels or produce works of art. Whoever you are, no matter how young, or how old, you are important in the Kingdom of God. You are pillars in your families, pillars in your communities (local, work, social), pillars in the church, in fact wherever you find yourself.
Far from being under-valued, women are highly significant in God’s kingdom and have a very important place.
So stand tall, hold your head high and be all that you were designed to be!