Where Kingdom Draws Near
Christopher B. Harbin
Exodus 19:3-8; Matthew 9:35-10:8; Romans 5:1-8
What do we do with those things we hold most precious? Do we flaunt them before the world to be sure everyone knows what we possess, perhaps hoping to inspire jealousy? Do we hide them away from view to keep them safe? Do we share them with the world, neither hoarding nor worrying over questions of ownership, status, or protection? The gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a message we zealously guard as precious. At times, perhaps we guard it only too well. As long as we protect it, we may distort it from its intended purposes. It is, after all, not to be guarded as we might our earthly treasures. It is not to be flaunted as some sort of status symbol, either. It is to be cherished and taken where the kingdom of Christ Jesus draws near.
When the Hebrews gathered at the mountain after being rescued from Egypt, they were all too quick to accept any and all conditions to be Yahweh's people. God had redeemed them from slavery. They had seen great victory over the Egyptians. Yahweh had proven supremacy over the gods of Egypt, given them safety in the wilderness, and ushered them into a new life. If they heard God's words through Moses, they did not register them much beyond a very general sense that they were to serve Yahweh. They were concerned with enjoying the blessings of being Yahweh's special people. They were not thinking about the responsibilities such a standing entailed.
God spoke through Moses to say, "You shall be my people, but there is a purpose to it. There is a task at hand. I have cared for you, lifting you up as though on eagles' wings. Now you will be a kingdom of priests for me. You will serve as instruments of my presence among the nations. You were not rescued to be a nation unto yourselves. You are my emissaries before the world."
That is what God said, but that is not what they heard. They heard what they wanted to ...
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