“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; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5-6)
In our lectionary reading from Exodus we encounter one of the most important events in Biblical history, the meeting with the Lord at Mount Sinai. The whole purpose of the book of Exodus, perhaps of the Torah itself is summed up here in 19:5-6. God has delivered His people from slavery and brought them to Mt. Sinai to make a covenant with them. They are called to be, first of all, the Lord’s treasured possession. Of all the nations of earth, Israel is the one in whom He delights. Israel is also called to be a Kingdom of priests, set apart for God’s service to all the nations of the earth. They are a holy nation, set apart from sin, dedicated to the Lord, to be obedient to His Word.
The people agreed to do all the Lord had commanded them, but, as we know from their history, they failed to be holy; they failed to trust the Lord. The same can be true of we who are called to serve Christ. We are all grateful that He has called us out of the world, that He has promised us eternal life. Yet when it comes to holiness, we all tend to balk. We look at the world and we see the happiness and pleasure that millions enjoy apart from God and we want the same. We become carnal or worldly Christians as we confuse the values of the world with the holiness of God’s kingdom. Yet as Peter (1 Peter 2:9) reminds us, the church is a royal priesthood a holy nation, a people set apart. We should reexamine our worldview and those things we value so we can indeed be the people the Lord expects us to be so that others may see the Lord Jesus in us.