And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be His people, making Himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before Your people, whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? And You established for Yourself Your people Israel to be Your people forever. And You, O Lord, became their God. 2 Samuel 7:23-24
Israel. I love the sound of its syllables. I like to read about their history and what makes them peculiar—which is what King David lists in the verses above. Israel is the one nation that God went out to redeem as a people for Himself:
Do you see it? One of the elements of Israel’s unique identity was that God had set them apart. According to 1 Peter 2:9, we—God’s elect—are also a holy nation and a people for God’s possession. God called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. And just like the Israelites (Exodus 19:6), we were consecrated to God.
In trying to blend in with the world, we lose track of the God who set us apart
Gill comments: “… being separated by God from other nations, and legally and externally sanctified by Him. Similarly, we, the believers or church are sanctified, set apart by God the Father, in eternal election, to real and perfect holiness; and are sanctified or cleansed from sin, by the blood and sacrifice of Christ; and are internally sanctified by the Spirit of God; have principles of holiness wrought in them, from whence they live holy lives and conversations.”
In Latin, words like cattle, money, or property trace back to the word “pecu”. In ancient times, the cattle owned by a person reflected their wealth. The English word “peculium”, which means “wealth or property held by one as his exclusive possession or for his private use”, is derived from this Latin word. It is in this context that we should read 1 Peter 2:9. We are His wealth, called to “… to know… the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints…” (Ephesians 1:18).
This is how Gill describes it: “God’s elect are a peculiar people, to whom He bears a peculiar love; they are chosen by Him to be a special people above all others, and have peculiar blessings bestowed on them, and peculiar care is taken of them; they are the Lord’s, His treasure, His jewels, His portion and inheritance, and therefore He will preserve and save them; they are a people for acquisition, purchase, and possession, as the words may be rendered; whom God has obtained, procured, and purchased for Himself, with the precious blood of His Son.
So often, God’s people try so hard to blend in with the world. But in trying to do so, we lose track of the God who set us apart. God has ordained His people to be His own, set apart from the world. But we find it better to blend in rather than be holy to God. Often, we’re unable to even rejoice in our unique position in Christ.
God made us His own to show forth His glorious name through us. In other words, we are to witness Jesus Christ to others. And we can do this by proclaiming His good works, by our servant lifestyle, and by our love and unity with fellow brothers and sisters in the faith.
[God] sanctifies self-serving people like us… [to] draw our attention to Himself and His great name
But let’s admit it. By nature, we are selfish. But God doesn’t abandon us in our desires. He sanctifies self-serving people like us, cleansing us of all our sinful desires except that which would draw our attention to Himself and His great name. And God does this through the influence and power of the Holy Spirit working in us. By the Spirit, we are able to surrender our ambitions to show forth the praises and exalt the name and character of our Lord.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are Yours. Thank you for transforming sinners like us into a holy nation and a people for Your possession. What a privilege it is to be made Yours alone in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! We are humbled and eternally grateful. Lord, please forgive us for our selfishness and our efforts to blend in with the world. Empower us through Your Holy Spirit to proclaim Your exalted name to those who are still in darkness. For Your glory, and Your kingdom. We humbly ask this in the precious name of our Lord Jesus. Amen.
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