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Exodus 19:3-6 and Revelation 21:3-4

Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all 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.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” (Exodus 19:3-6)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:3-4)

John, in his Gospel, introduces Jesus with these words: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Upon taking office to serve our nation, the Governor-General, the Prime Minister and all important officials are required to take the Oath of Allegiance that marks them out from the rest of us: “I do swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty…according to law…I will do right…without fear or favour…So help me God!” To usefully serve the rest of us, these men and women need to be set apart in this special way.

God set Israel apart to serve the world – to serve by bringing the knowledge of God to a broken and rebellious humanity: “Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” They failed in their task, but God did not fail. For he sent Jesus to be what Israel would not be, the obedient Son of the Father and Saviour of humanity. In the message of Jesus the knowledge of God now goes out to a broken and rebellious humanity. When we believe in Jesus we become, in him, the people that Israel were meant to be. Peter puts it this way: “…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) We are set apart to be involved in our world, serving God and people as we speak the message of the cross and as we do acts of love and mercy that are shaped by the message of the cross. We have been set apart to serve. A serving that Revelation 21 pictures as going on into eternity.

Head: Do I see myself as set apart by God to serve by bringing the knowledge of God to a broken and rebellious humanity?

Heart: Does my heart believe that true greatness is found in the humility of service to God and people?

Hands: What opportunities might I have to speak the message of the cross today? What opportunities might I have to do acts of love and mercy today?

Prayer: I praise you Heavenly Father for setting me apart to serve by bringing the knowledge of you in Jesus to my world. Please enable my heart to believe that true greatness is found in the humility of service to Jesus and people. Please open my ears and eyes to today’s opportunities to speak the message of the cross and to do acts of love and mercy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

A song to listen to: Jerusalem

Phil Strong

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