I just want to write a bit here about the overarching idea of the series. I talk a lot in my sermons about how God chose a people (the Israelites) and pursued them. I believe that God also wanted them to show some reciprocity and pursue Him as well. When Jesus comes on the scene we see that God has a bigger vision than just one nation of chosen people. Hear these words from the gospel John:
"14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." -John 10:14-16
I believe that the sheep not of this pen are the gentiles and those in the future that will come to know Jesus and follow him. We who are not Jewish by birth have become part of God's chosen because of the sacrifice of Jesus.
During this series it was great to engage the story of Moses and his incredible rescue at the hand of women (Israelite and Egyptian) so that he would one day be the very tool of God to lead God's chosen people out of slavery. After Moses grows into manhood, he begins to feel for his birth-people and even kills to prevent their torture. Upon his self-inflicted exile God comes to him in the form of bush on fire, but not burning. God uses this amazing miracle to call Moses to the leadership that he was born to provide. Moses returns and implements God's plan to release His chosen people from the grip of Pharaoh. Each of the ten plagues that come upon Egypt are an awesome work of divinity in themselves, but it is the last plague that really defines God's desire for relationship with Israel. As the angel of death destroys the life of every first born in Egypt (including animals), Pharaoh finally concedes to the release of the Israelites. However, just so Israel doesn't forget or misconstrue God's choice he hardens the heart of Pharaoh to chase after them. God through the arm and staff of Moses peels back the water and its life to present a path of dry ground where the Hebrews can walk to cross the sea of reeds. And in order to put an exclamation point on the fact that God chose Israel over Egypt he allows Pharaoh's army to follow enough to be swallowed up by the water walls falling back into place and drowning an entire army. As the seen moves forward God gives Moses a list of "rules" or "commandments" for the people of Israel. Even today these 10 instructions have been seen as an obstructive, oppressive ruling upon the life of God's people only to give them a new enslavement. However, by taking a breath and praying for fresh perspective, one and all can see that these are not laws to bind the hands of the chosen and box them in to an demeaning mold, but rather to bind the hearts of the chosen to not only know the name of God, but to feel His heart for them and a finality of determining the relationship. Imagine that! God would actually want to relate to those He chose. And in the final chapters and verses of Exodus we see a tent of meeting; a tabernacle constructed so that the people of Israel would be able to find their God and bow down in worship and praise to Him.
Here is the power of Chosen: The God who chose Israel was a God who pursued His people. And the beauty of it is that He still chooses us today and pursues His people. However, we don't have to construct grand tents or impressive buildings. Through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit God comes to us in our very being.
"16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?" -1 Corinthians 3:16
"19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." -1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The God who chose Israel now chooses us! The God who filled the Tent, the Tabernacle, The Temple, now fills our bodies! God has chosen us. God is pursuing us. And so our response is worship. Our response is to choose God...and Him only! Our response is to pursue God with all the being He has given us! A powerful story in Exodus is still not concluded. And it won't be until the day comes when Jesus returns! And won't it be great on that day as we kneel before Christ and know that we are...Chosen!