March 29 I Tuesday
“…the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah…” —Romans 9:4-5
If we are going to know God, it is imperative that we come to know our Bibles. It is the only written revelation God gives us of Himself, and with a hunger to know Him, the Bible speaks to us. It tells us of God’s strategy in the world, focusing on the nation of Israel from Abraham to Christ, and then to the church, which is every Christian.
God set Abraham apart to father the nation of Israel, destined to become a blessing to the world, because from their descendants the Messiah would come. In Romans 9:4-5, Paul lists eight benefits that belonged to the Jewish people. The first was their adoption of sonship, meaning their relationship with God was not about privilege, but about purpose. The second was the divine glory in God having revealed Himself to them. The third was the covenants, the agreements God made with Abraham and Moses. The fourth, receiving the law (the Ten Commandments); fifth, the temple worship; sixth, the promises; seventh, the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob); and eighth, the human ancestry of the Messiah being traced through them. The first seven benefits are stepping stones to the eighth and ultimate purpose of bringing Jesus Christ into the world.
The nation of Israel was not an end in itself, but a means to an end in blessing the world by the coming of Christ through their descendants. The big mistake the Jewish people made was to consider themselves elite, a cut above the rest, because they were the chosen people of God. Rather than being the means of blessing the world, they became self-absorbed and saw themselves as the end purpose. As a result, they missed the whole point, and believed God’s blessing stopped with them.
This is a trap and a danger in the church today and personally in our own lives when we begin to think God’s work stops with us and with salvation. As Christians, salvation is not an end in itself. We are the benefits of Christ’s work on the cross for His purpose of becoming a blessing to others. The consequence of being a Christian is that we are now an instrument through which God accomplishes His work in the world.
Prayer: Dear God, create in me a hunger to know the Bible, so that I may come to know You more. Use me as an instrument to accomplish Your work in this world. Thank You, God.