“You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
--- Exodus 19:6
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, …Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God.”
--- 1 Peter 2:9-10
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing… and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
--- Genesis 12:2-3
So far we have committed ourselves to being one, to the way helping one another and looking past one another’s mistakes, and to imagine and struggle with questions and realities of how to do this. So where does that leave us, or where does that lead us?
What do we do as we move forward as one? If we accomplish our goal, or see success in it, what happens? What are the results? What is the next step?
Great questions. Again, let’s look back to Scripture to see if it has any stories that help our imagination, that prod us along the right path. It’s very important as we look at Scripture, that we look at what God does to form a people. Because that’s what we are trying to be, a group or a people committed to being like Jesus. In the Old Testament, this people, this group that is to be God’s own is the Israelites. In the New Testament, this group begins with the disciples and then is identified as the Church.
The beauty of Scripture is that it’s all the same story. The call to Israel in the Old Testament is the same as to the Church in the New Testament. God asks the Israelites to be a “kingdom of priests” and the Church is called a “royal priesthood.” When the people of God draw together as one, just as God is one, they are then to be a group of priests.
The job of a priest is pretty simple. He represents God to the people, and he represents the people before God. In the Old Testament, the priest was taking sacrifices before God on behalf of the people and then giving the people the blessings that God had for them. The priest received a blessing for his work, and then he passed that blessing onto the people.
The idea of a kingdom of priests is that God’s people would receive God’s blessing, and then would take that blessing to others (see Gen. 12:2-3). It’s not the idea of keeping everything that we have and storing it up for ourselves. It’s not the idea of being blessed so that we can be blessed. The idea is that if we are blessed, it is so we can be a blessing to others outside our group.
The Israelites never understood this. The Church doesn’t understand it very well either at times (remember the Crusades, yea, that was a great job of blessing others!) The question for us then is: How do we understand it?
What if Bethany Christian tennis is blessed this year? What if we achieve one-ness and it makes for an unbelievable tightness of group? What if we simply are blessed by God with good luck and good skill and we win a bunch of matches? Or a Sectional? Or a State Championship? (Okay, a little carried away maybe…maybe next year…)
What do we do if we are blessed? How do we become a blessing for others? Maybe it’s others at our school, maybe it’s others around the community of Goshen, Elkhart, Mishawaka? How do we respond in thanks to the blessings of God to truly help people that are outside our group?
How can you be a blessing?