The Israelites finally reach the base of Mount Sinai, God’s holy mountain, two months after leaving Egypt.
Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.”
So Moses returned from the mountain and called together the elders of the people and told them everything the Lord had commanded him. And all the people responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.” So Moses brought the people’s answer back to the Lord.
God had a reason for rescuing the Israelites from slavery. Now he was ready to tell them what it was: Israel was to become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation where anyone could freely approach God.
Why did God choose Israel as his nation? God knew that no nation on earth was good enough to deserve to be called his people, his “special treasure.” He chose Israel because of his love and mercy—not because of anything they had done, but in spite of it. Why did he want to have a special nation on earth? To represent his way of life, to teach his Word, and to be an agent of salvation to the world. God chose one nation and taught them to follow him, so that one day they could be a channel for his blessings to the whole world. “All the nations of the earth” would be blessed through Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 18:18). Gentiles and kings would come to the Lord through Israel (Isaiah 60:3). Through the nation of Israel, the Messiah, God’s chosen Son, would be born.
Genesis 15 and 17 record God establishing his covenant with Abraham, promising to make his descendants into a great nation. Now that promise was being realized as God renewed his agreement with the Israelite nation, the descendants of Abraham. God promised to bless and care for them. The people promised to obey him. The covenant was thus sealed.
But the good intentions of the people quickly wore off. Before long, they began to corrupt God’s plan. God then established Aaron’s descendants from the tribe of Levi as priests, representing what the entire nation should have been (Leviticus 8–9). But with the coming of Jesus Christ, God has once again extended his plan to all believers. We are to become holy, “royal priests” (1 Peter 2:9). The death and resurrection of Christ has allowed each of us to freely approach God.
Just like he did with Israel, God has called you into a relationship with him so that he could bless others through your life. Who has God put in your life that he is trying to bless through you?