But now you are God's people!
Devotion for Wednesday, July 8
1 Peter 2:10, “but now you are God’s people”
The final identifying marker in 1 Peter 2 connects the disciple of Christ to the great story of redemption in the book of Hosea. In the first chapter of Hosea, God calls the prophet to marry a “wife of harlotry” because Israel had forsook the Lord (1:2). Hosea marries Gomer and has three children. Each of the children’s names indicate a judgment the Lord was about to carry out upon the idolatrous people. The First child was named, Jezreel, to indicate the place where the army of Israel was to be defeated. The second child was named Lo-ruhamah, meaning “no compassion,” for the Lord was going to stay his hand of mercy in judgment. The third child was named Lo-ammi, meaning “not my people,” for the Lord declared the people no longer called Him their God. This judgment through the children of Hosea illustrates the tragic story of Israel’s sinful rejection of the God of Creation. It reminds all of us that we are sinners, who have walked away from the Lord, who are “alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds.” (Col. 1:21) Our natural, sinful state places us outside the people of God, we are removed from His mercy and redeeming compassion.
But that is not the end of the story in Hosea. After declaring judgment upon Israel that would indeed come to pass, Hosea records the promise of a future restoration for Israel and those who put their faith in the Lord. Listen to this! Hosea says, “I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion (Lo-ruhamah). And I will say to those who were not My people (Lo-ammi) ‘You are My people!’ and they will say, ‘You are my God!’” (2:23)
God ultimately punished the people of Israel and Judah for their sinful rejection of the Old Covenant, but in the midst of that judgment He provides a New Way for restoration, reconciliation, and grace! Oh how compassionate and merciful our Lord Jehovah is!
The apostle Paul picks up on this notion in Romans 9, but amazingly applies this promise of restoration not only to the people of Israel, but also to the Gentile. He says, “And He [judged Israel] to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, who He also called, not from Jews only, but also from among the Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea…” (9:23-25a) Wow! Through God’s judgment He was preparing the path toward restoration for all humanity to become His people and to enjoy a living relationship with Him forever!
This is the glorious impact of Peter and Paul connecting the promise of Hosea 2:23 to the Gentile as well. You see, one day, these great words of Hosea will be declared by every voice of God’s people in the New Heaven and the New Earth. Revelation 5:9 states that Jesus is worthy to take the scroll, “for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”
That unified people of God will be with their Redeemer in the New Jerusalem. The Word of God declares, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be HIS PEOPLE, and God Himself will be among them.” (Rev. 21:3)
When I think about all these identifying markers for God’s redeemed in 1 Peter 2:9-10, it gives me great confidence to know that, “if God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom. 8:31) Yes, we are having quite the year, but our God is greater, who has called us out of darkness to walk in His marvelous light! Live in the great knowledge of God’s great compassion on us while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly (Rom. 5:8). May that steady your steps and bolster your spirit as you realize the great and wonderful privilege it is to be called a child of God. Listen to John’s words of encouragement in closing, “See how great a love the Father has lavished upon us, that we would be called the children of God; and we are! For this reason the world does not know us, but it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3)
Pastor, Sharon First Baptist Church