priests

Join the story

History reveals a winnowing of human lives. Throughout history a story continues to unfold about how God has been at work in our world. Some lives are caught up into participating in the greatest, most significant and enduring story of all time. Join the story.

Peering into one of its earliest chapters, we witness a nation of recently freed slaves gathered at the foot of a mountain.  From this mountain God announced to Moses what God wanted to do for and with those people.

“Tell the house of Jacob … if you will diligently listen to me and keep my covenant, then you will be my special possession out of all the nations, for the earth is mine, and you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:3,5,6).

Through covenant God desired to claim the nation of Israel as his people. Yet the metaphor of “a kingdom of priests” reveals more than their relationship with God; it pointed to their purpose as God’s people. What would it mean for this nation to function as God’s priests within the world?

What does a priest do? Perhaps our first thoughts gravitate to someone standing before an altar offering sacrifices to God on behalf of others. For God to bestow upon Israel some form of an intercessory role between the other nations and himself announces God’s concern for the world.

Priests, however, had a second function which brings God’s purposes for Israel into sharper focus. Those who serve at the altar are also supposed to teach those around them about God and his ways (Deuteronomy 33:10; Leviticus 10:11).

For Israel to fulfill its role as God’s people would not only require them to live holy lives, it also required them to tell the world about the God whom they served. In fact, if they would follow God’s holy ways, then their lives would reflect their God thus contributing to their message.

History reveals how some people have served God’s high calling for their lives. History separates people by identifying who has participated in God’s project to bring others to God and those whose lives have been merely mired down in serving whatever transitory purposes they have chosen.

Unfortunately Israel, God’s messenger servant, had failed during Isaiah’s time. Israel failed to fulfill its purpose because as those who were blind and deaf she failed to testify about what God had done (Isaiah 42:18-20).

Before we are too hard upon ancient Israel, let’s remember God’s purposes for us as disciples.

“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

As those whom the King has adopted to be his royal children, we too share in the purpose of being God’s priesthood in this world. We too have been given the role of announcing to our neighbors the wonderful news of what God has done.

We are commanded to live holy lives (1 Peter 1:15-16). This is not just an arbitrary command. In addition to aligning our lifestyles with God’s ways, holy living also provides one avenue by which we announce to the world who our God is.

Join the story of what God is doing in our world. Reflect God’s holy ways to those around you by how you live. Fulfill your mission as God’s royal priesthood by verbally praising God for what he has done. With God’s help, we can do this.

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They are the parents of two young men.

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