I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles.
God wants us to be his people. It is a message that goes all the way back to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. After they sin, it would have been easy for God to kick them out of the garden and have nothing else to do with them. (Let’s be honest, that’s how we treat most people who let us down.) That wasn’t God’s plan, however. He clothes them and even though there were repercussions for their sin, they were still his people.
We see it again in the story of Abraham in Genesis 12 and following. God wants this man to be the start of a great nation; a nation that God would call his own. We see it in the lives of God’s kings; we hear it in the voices of his prophets.
It is the same story told by Peter, who in the midst of a religious climate that refused to associate with Gentiles (non-Jews, or in our day we might think of them as people without faith and opposed to God), discovered that God shows no favoritism. While many people would assume that you MUST exclude people unlike you, Peter is directed by God to accept and bring people completely opposite of him into the church.
Finally, we feel the full impact of God’s desire when his son is crucified on the cross. God wants us to be his people.
Too often, we miss that our responsibility is not just to be his people. We forget that we are to help others be his people, too. All the way back in the book of Isaiah, we are told we are to be God’s covenant people, which meant we would be not only in covenant with him, but also a light to the Gentiles.
There’s more, we would:
- Open eyes that are blind
- Free captives from prison
- Release from the dungeon those in darkness
Being God’s people means more than just a single focus on God and us. It also means looking to those seeking him, or those who perhaps do not yet even know he is the one they seek.
It is what his servant and son Jesus did. How well do you seek out others to be his?
•In what ways have you sung the praises of God’s great love and made his faithfulness known to others? What specific things would you include in your song? Make a list and share it with someone also reading these passages.
•How does knowing God seeks you out, he WANTS you to be his, affect your devotion to God? How does it make it easier for you to want to follow him?
•How do you think you would have reacted to Peter’s acceptance of a Gentile? In what ways might we exclude people from faith today? How can we overcome the tendency to be exclusionary or to play favorites? What is something you can do today to do so?
•In what ways have you felt the affirmation of God on you? How has it affected your spiritual walk?
•Do something today that reminds you that God really, really does love you, and also helps you remember to share his love with others.