Exodus 19:2b-6b - There Israel encamped before the mountain, while Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'
When God brought the freed Israelites to Mount Sinai, he told them what His plans were for them. They would be His chosen people, "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." When I was little I used to be a bit jealous of that. "How come they get to be special?" would sum up what I was feeling. "Are they any better than I?"
But of course, that wasn't what God was saying at all! God picked them to do a job—to bring the rest of the people on earth to faith in the real God.
Look at the words: "You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." Think for a moment: What are priests for? They are there to bring other people near to God—to speak God's words to the people, and to help people draw near to God in prayer and worship. Israel was supposed to do that with regards to the rest of the world—to pray for them, to witness to them, and to do whatever they could to bring all the nations to the living God, their Maker and Savior.
To be sure, when we look at the Old Testament record we don't see a lot of success in this area. There are the occasional foreigners who pop up—people like Ruth and Rahab, some of David's soldiers, the mixed multitude of foreigners who joined Israel when they went up out of Egypt, out of slavery. So yes, some did come to faith. But there's no telling what might have happened if Israel hadn't kept falling away from the Lord. Their own disobedience and faithlessness as a group meant that the rest of the world pretty much went on sitting in darkness—until the day Jesus came to finish Israel's job.
But now? Now we have a second chance to get it right. 1 Peter 2:9 says to us almost the same thing God said to the Israelites: "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." We are also saved to serve, not saved to sit.
But how will this be any different? We too are sinners, no better than the Israelites. But we have one huge advantage—no, two! We know that God Himself has already come into this world as a human being, to live and to suffer and lay down His life for us—and to rise from the dead. We know clearly that whoever trusts in Him will be rescued from evil and have life and joy forever. So we can say that.
And we have the Holy Spirit living in us, to do the speaking. It can be scary opening our mouths to talk about Jesus. But the Holy Spirit will handle everything, if we ask Him. He knows how to use us best—and in His hands, we don't need to worry about messing up. It's His business, and He will make it right.
THE PRAYER: Lord, use me to help others come to trust in Jesus—and help me when I am afraid or nervous. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Have you ever talked to anybody about Jesus?
2. If so, what was it like?
3. Would you do it again? Why or why not?
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