Yesterday we explored the concept of rest as it related to Israel’s entering their promised land and how it is also a gift of our accepting God’s promises. Today we’re going to look at the theme of inheritance. Entering the promised land was a claiming of the nation’s inheritance from God. Receiving that land was a condition of the covenant God made with Abraham – His promise to give that land to Abraham and his descendants was renewed when God covenanted with the entire nation and gave them His law. The terms of relationship with God were tied closely to the land – obedience would result in continual blessing in their land while disobedience would tear them from their home. When God met with the Israelites for the first time after rescuing them from Egypt, this was what He promised:
“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 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.” Ex19:4-6
Israel’s inheritance of the land came with a responsibility to represent God to the other nations. In their place of promise, they would be a light to bring more and more people into the presence of God.
When we enter into a relationship with God, we’re told that he qualifies us to share in His inheritance. He gives us a position as His sons and daughters. He allows us access to His throne to come to Him at any moment of the day. He exchanges our sin for His righteousness and clothes us with His grace. He delights in us and crowns us with His loving-kindness. He also gives us a purpose. Like the nation of Israel, we have a calling:
“But you are 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.” I Peter 2:9-10
Sound familiar? God’s plan is the same throughout all history – He is always drawing people to Himself, inviting them to join His kingdom, and take part in His work. Those who follow Him are called to be priests – to be God’s emissaries on earth, reflecting His character, and showing His love. Priests are mediators who enact the ministry of reconciliation. Ours is the beautiful gift of making peace. We’re to be God’s agents, reflecting His care in the way we treat His creation. We’re to share His love with others: drawing the outcast in, meeting the needs of those in want, striving for justice, healing the broken, sharing His mercy, bringing light into the darkness. It’s a holy and profound calling and one that will change our lives and hearts. We also have received the promise of a place as our inheritance. Like the Israelites in waiting, we long for the day when we reach our eternal home. The Promised Land of Israel was a foreshadowing of the time when God would gather us all into His presence forever. It is a place where “the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things are passed away.” (Rev 21:2-4). In such an inheritance we have every reason to rejoice and anticipate its fulfillment.
In closing, I’d like to share with you this prayer from the book of Ephesians. It’s a pertinent and beautiful reading for Easter as we celebrate the everlasting life God offers and thank Him for the rich inheritance He provides.
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”
Blessings to you,