Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possessions. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” – Exodus 19: 3-6
Of the 3 chapters, this is the passage that stuck out to me the most. And I noticed a few things.
The first thing God does here is remind the people that they have seen His power and what He is capable of. But also with that power He saved them and “brought” them to Himself. It makes sense to me that before God lays out the conditions and the blessing of His deal, that He would remind them of this. For starters, it reminds you who you are messing with- and this deal is not to be taken lightly. And, if they were anything like me, they would have also been reminded of what happens when you’re on the wrong side against God. But at the end of this is the reminder that all of those powerful and miraculous things were because He wanted them with Him.
After God has reminded them how serious the deal is, and the reality of the power behind the deal-maker, He tells them the condition that they must hold up- to obey him fully and keep his covenant. Now it would be a lot easier if there was a percentage involved, like how school works: I can get 90%-100% correct, and I still get an A. Oh how I wish it worked like that! But God is clear that they had to FULLY obey Him.
And then lastly, God told them that if they did this, that out of the whole earth, they would be special. Treasured. Holy. Which deep down, someone feeling that way about me is what I desire the most. And here it is. The opportunity for God, who did all those amazing things that He had just reminded them of, to have that kind of a relationship with them. With me. With you. Now THAT is worthy of the condition to fully obey what He asks. That is what we get in return.
But did you notice one more piece at the end? This is what God gets in return. Not our obedience- that is an essential piece to this whole thing working. But in return God gets a “kingdom of priests” and a “holy nation.” The idea of a holy nation is one that is easier to understand, it’s pretty self-explanatory. A group of people, tied to His name, that are holy. But have you ever thought about the “kingdom of priests” part? My study Bible has a note making the point that this also now does away with hierarchy and birthright in the metaphor- meaning that this passage is for believers of Jesus, not just the Israelites who were there. I believe that in there is also a correlation to the priesthood of believers, meaning that we as individuals can act as priests and interact directly with God. We don’t need someone to hear God’s voice for us. He will talk directly to me, and you. But the part that has been much more on my mind is the purpose of having a kingdom of priests. In this deal, God gets a kingdom of people that go between Him and the people on His behalf. His treasured people that have experienced how He has saved them and brought them into relationship with Him are now the go-betweens for Him and the world. The purpose of these treasured and deeply loved people is to introduce more people to the One who can fully love and treasure.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me stop and awe at who God is. I am saved and treasured. And I have the opportunity to let more people experience the fulfillment that we are all looking for and I have found in Him. I pray that today you are divinely aware that God treasures you.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 22-24