Devotion for Tuesday, July 7, 2020
1 Peter 2:9, “a people for His possession.”
Belonging is a key desire in the human spirit. Everyone, no matter their religious or cultural setting, seeks to find a place to feel welcomed and included. We all identify with a “tribe” or “my people,” which could be as nuclear as a family or as broad as a nation or people group. Of course, we also find several places of togetherness throughout our lives, and we float from one to another as the seasons of experience change.
Peter was writing to churches who were encountering severe persecution. Many had left places of belonging (families, synagogues, friendships) to follow Jesus and join the church. These believers had experienced loss in so many ways; their former friends and comrades had turned their backs on them. The apostle turns for the third straight time to Exodus 19:5-6 to connect God’s relationship with Israel to His relationship with New Testament believers. The fact that Peter parallels the church and Israel through each identity marker found in Exodus 19 speaks volumes. All believers should read that passage in Exodus and internalize it and claim it with great effect in their daily lives.
Peter says to his beleaguered brothers and sisters, “you are ‘a people for God’s own possession.’” (1 Peter 2:9) In Exodus God declares that the people of Israel shall be “My own possession among all the peoples.” (19:5) This means that out of all the nations of the earth, God chose the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be His special people. And now, that special relationship includes all who come in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ!
We place so much attention on possessions in this world. We want to own a nice house, a shiny new car, fashionable clothing, the newest iPhone, and other technological gadgets. We also want to own our time, our future, our ambitions, and the direction of our families and careers. This is natural. Yet, the great truth of the gospel is that God calls the believer to yield ownership of his or her life over to Him. This is an amazing mystery and is a key to unleashing the power of the Holy Spirit. We yield our possessions and ownership over to Him, and we become His possession! We are no longer our own, we are His! He now has claim over our lives.
While this notion might sting a little to our freedom-loving, individualist ears here in the twenty-first century, its power is found in the benefit of belonging. Yes, we yield ownership and control of our lives over to the Lord Jehovah. Yet, when we do that, we gain ultimate belonging! We are adopted into the family of God. We are co-heirs with Christ our Lord. Jehovah tells the people in Exodus as they are at Mt. Sinai, “Out of all the peoples of the earth that I could choose from, I choose you! You are mine!” (paraphrase)
Why has God called us to be his special possession? Peter gives us that answer at the conclusion of the verse, “so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (2:9) God redeemed the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt so that they would proclaim His mercy to the world around them. And, God claims you so that you might proclaim to the world His great grace!
No matter what difficult circumstance you may experience in your life, the strife you endure, always remember that with God you have a place of belonging. That is why it is so vital for you to find a church where God has called you to fellowship and serve. There you find a place to belong - always! Ultimate belonging is a joy that the world cannot offer.
Always the great promise of God for you found in Isaiah 43:1, “But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!”
Pastor, Sharon First Baptist Church
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