Posted by: dhkrause | August 22, 2012

God’s Set-Apart Nation

As in the days of the Bible, God is calling his people today to be a set-apart nation for Him.  Genesis 12 describes God’s call to Abram (later to be named Abraham) to go out from his country, and God’s promise that all the peoples of the earth would be blessed through him.

Genesis 12 (NIV)
1
The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2
“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.
3
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Through Abraham’s son Isaac and grandson Jacob the nation of Israel was born.  In due time from the tribe of Judah the prophesied Messiah of Israel entered the world to bring blessings both to Israel and to all nations.  Isaiah 52 and 53 describe how the Messiah would suffer an atoning death for his people and bring redemption to the believing remnant.

Isaiah 52 (NIV)
8
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy.  When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.

9 Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10
The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.
11 Depart, depart, go out from there!  Touch no unclean thing!

Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the articles of the LORD’s house.
12 But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
13
See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.

14
Just as there were many who were appalled at him—

  his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness—
15
so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him.   For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.

Isaiah 53 (NIV)
1
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.  He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.  Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
5
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 11 identifies the Messiah as arising from the roots of Jesse (King David’s father), and describes how there will be a glorious second Exodus of the scattered tribes of Israel back to the Promised Land.

Isaiah 11 (NIV)
1
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
3
and he will delight in the fear of the LORD…

5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
11
In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush,[ the upper Nile region] from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean.
12
He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.
13
Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish, and Judah’s enemies will be destroyed; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.

In Ezekiel 36, God describes this redeemed and set-apart nation:

Ezekiel 36 (NIV)
24
“‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.
25
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

Gentiles who are faithful  followers of Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ, are included in this believing remnant, as Yeshua declares in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Today God is calling people of faith to support this second exodus of the scattered remnant of Israel to the Promised Land.  Jewish and Gentile believers in Messiah are together “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  (1 Peter 2:9-10 NIV)

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com,7/16/2011


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