Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Richmond Briefing

A Weekly Bible Reading for Bridge Builders

The Richmond Briefing has been a weekly feature of the Reachout web site for five years and is now available on the blog. To find out more and read earlier briefings go here

Reading – God’s Treasured Possession (Exodus 19:3-5)

We began last time to look at God’s providence and the unlikely calling of a man, Abraham, out of a pagan, polytheistic world who was promised great things. He was promised a great posterity and that he would be a great nation and God provided a son when Abraham and his wife Sarah were old and barren.

The promise of fruitfulness and progeny given to Adam and Abraham (Ge.1:28; 12:2) were fulfilled as Israel multiplied in Egypt. However, God’s people are not invulnerable to the challenges and injustices of this world and the physical descendants of Abraham found themselves in slavery in Egypt. From a position of great office and privilege in the land Israel, within 200 years, became slaves to a king that knew nothing about how God had blessed Egypt through Abraham’s descendents (Ex.1:6-14).

God rose up a man from Pharaoh’s own household, Moses, the Israelite who had been adopted by the king’s daughter and it was he whom God used to deliver his people from what seemed hopelessness and broken promises. By a series of miracles God demonstrated to Israel and to Pharaoh that his promises will be fulfilled and his purposes prevail. When finally Israel walked out of Egypt Moses led them to the foot of Mount Sinai and there God entered into a covenant with the ones he would call his people.

“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Ex.19:4-6)

God had all the nations of the earth from which to choose and he knew none could be good enough to be his people. He chose Israel, not on merit or because they were better or bigger than other nations (Deut.7:7) but because he loved them and swore an oath to their forefathers. The covenant made at Sinai was between a people saved from slavery and their Saviour/God. A God who declared that this now was how a saved people were to live if they would just add obedience to faith and worship the God who saved them.

We too are saved because of God’s love and not because of any merit on our part. A God who saves demands obedience but it is not the obedience, nor indeed the act of faith but God who carries us on eagle’s wings and brings us to himself.

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