(This is part of the Story series. To catch up on any posts you might have missed, click here.)
‘ “And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.’”1
The Israelites had seen God’s majestic power in each of the ten plagues in Egypt. They had experienced His amazing grace as He split the Red Sea and provided a way of escape from the pursuing Egyptians. They had declared their devotion to God in an impromptu worship service on the shores of the Red Sea.
They had chosen the right story.
And now God had led them to His mountain, to train them and make them into a people who could be His message to the world, through whom would ultimately come the Word Itself, who would “save His people from their sins.”2
The people responded to God with a hearty, “All the words which the LORD has said we will do.”3
I could continue narrating the story of the Israelites, their success and failures, triumphs and disasters. But I won’t. Not because I don’t think it’s worth spending time on – the more I read and learn about the Israelites, the more I appreciate the Torah – but because I want you to go read it for yourself. Read their story.
Actually, no. Don’t go read their story. Go read your story. Because you see, it really is your story.
…and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.”4
We as Christians do ourselves a great disservice if we try to separate ourselves from that story. Instead of viewing the Scriptures as being mostly about “them” and how “they” messed up and then celebrating because “we” are now in the fold, we need a paradigm shift. They are our spiritual ancestors. So the story isn’t about “us” and “them” – it’s about a collective “us.”
Peter wrote in his first letter to the pilgrims of the Dispersion, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but now are the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”5
That’s us…all of us. As Christians, we are part of God’s royal priesthood, a priesthood that was established over 3,500 years ago at Mt. Sinai.
We would do well to remember that we are part of their story.