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. – Exodus 19:5
Scripture reading: Exodus 19:1-9
In Genesis 12, God called Abraham to be a blessing to the nations: “I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing” (v.2). In his book, Light to the Nations, Michael Goheen sums up the identity and mission of Israel with this idea, that Israel was called to be a “so that” people, blessed by God so that they would be a blessing.
This is the identity that God emphasizes for Israel in Exodus 19. They are God’s treasured possession, not instead of all the nations, but among all peoples. God chose them in order to put them on display, to show what He would one day do for all nations. He blessed Israel as part of His plan to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. “And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).
Israel was to be a kingdom of priests. What priests did for Israel, Israel was to do for the nations. Priests represented God to the people and represented the people before God. That is what Israel was called to do: to represent who God was, the promises He gave, the grace He showed, and the life to which He calls us. Israel thought God’s promises were all for them. But God was clear: “All the earth is mine.” And because God so loved the world, He would one day send His Son, born to Israel’s family, for all the nations.
Suggestions for prayer
That we would remember, like Israel, we are blessed so that we will be a blessing, and that our lives would be fruitful for the good of those around us.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Nick Smith is pastor of the United Reformed Church of Nampa, Idaho.