God had a special relationship with the nation of Israel. These were His chosen people. The entire Old Testament of the Bible details the back and forth negotiation between God and His chosen people. One minute they would be on their knees worshiping Him and the next they would be in rebellion. We learn from this that our human nature is constantly pulling us away from God. Nevertheless, God promised the Israelites that great things would come to them if they could resist their human nature and stay true to Him.
“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Exodus 19:5-6 (NIV)
The Israelites were unable to live up to God’s high standard and eventually were punished for their disobedience and scattered throughout the world. Of course, God has not forgotten them or the promises He made. Jesus illustrates this point in one of His parables.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” Matthew 13:44 (NIV)
From the very beginning God knew the Israelites could not live up to his standard of righteousness. From the very beginning God knew that he would eventually send His Son to die on the cross as payment for their sins. But God did not limit His Salvation to the Israelites.
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2 (NIV)
Jesus taught through a second parable that in the same way the Israelites were bought with the blood of Christ, the Gentiles, illustrated as a fine pearl, have also been purchased.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV)
The ultimate price has been paid for our Salvation. God sacrificed His Son so that we might be free from our sin and thereby obtain the righteousness of God. God has provided us with a way to conquer our human nature and achieve eternal life with Him in the kingdom of heaven.
Answer each question as though you were speaking privately to Jesus. Don’t just answer yes or no, explain your answer completely to yourself and to the Lord.
Have you studied the story of the Israelites in the Old Testament of the Bible?
Are you aware that God considers His creation to be a treasured possession?
Have you prayerfully considered the price Jesus paid for you on the cross?
Do you feel the love God has for his treasured possession?
Are you following Jesus to the kingdom of heaven?
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