Feeling Special

Ezekiel 25:8
“Thus says the Lord God: ‘Because Moab and Seir say, “Look! The house of Judah is like all the nations…”‘

Moab and Israel had a long and sorted history, dating back to Israel’s journey to Canaan. It was the king of Moab who hired the prophet Balaam to curse the people of God. Unable to curse those whom God had blessed, Balaam resorted to counseling Moab on how to put a stumbling block in the way of the people of God. They sent many of the young, attractive Moab women into the camp of Israel, with the purpose of luring the men into ungodly relationships and activity. This plan worked and many of the people of God fell into sin, and some even died for their misconduct. This animosity between the two nations continued, and almost a thousand years later, Ezekiel explains the reason Moab despised Israel. He writes

“Because Moab and Seir say, ‘Look! The house of Judah is like all the nations . . .’”

Although God considered Israel to be different than the nation’s surrounding them, Moab and Seir thought of them just as any other group of people. It is not difficult to understand their position. The Israelites looked no different than the nation’s around them; they had many of the same problems, conflicts, and personal weaknesses of their neighbors. The reality is, Israel was not special because of their strength, might, or even godliness. They were special because God, in His sovereignty, chose to place his hand of blessing upon them. Joshua tells us, it was while Abraham and his family were living in Babylon worshipping false gods that the Lord appeared to him.  God called him, gave him the promise of many defendants, of being given a land, of becoming a nation, and of being the conduit by which the Messiah would come into the world. Later, Moses would explain that Israel was chosen, not because they were the greatest of people in the world, but because God chose to put His love upon them.
The same is true of you and me. As a child of God, we are a special people above those who have not chosen to trust in Christ. Our favor is not because we are smarter, taller, stronger, or even holier, than those who have not trusted Christ. This favor comes from the simple fact that we are in a relationship with God through Christ. Mary, the mother of Jesus was called, “highly favored and blessed among women”, her favor was based upon the sovereign choice of God, and the fact that Christ dwelt in her. If you have accepted Christ, Paul refers to you as “accepted in the beloved”, which is the same phrase used of Mary. You are highly favored because of the sovereign choice of God, and the fact that Christ dwells in you.
Don’t make the same mistake Moab did by considering yourself, or others who have come to Christ, just like all other people. We are the children of God. Also, let’s be careful not to neglect the responsibility that comes with that blessing. Israel often failed to see that their position was designed by God as a means to be the light of the world, leading others to faith in Him.

Pastor Jim

 

Favorite One 

Song of Songs 6:9
My dove, my perfect one, Is the only one, the only one of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The daughters saw her and called her blessed, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.

This young Shulamite woman has become the envy of everyone in the nation. She is looked upon as the favorite of her mother and receives praises from queens and concubines alike. Her beauty seems to have no rival within Israel, and she is put upon display for all the world to see. This had not always been the case. Earlier we read of how this young woman was viewed by those who knew her.

Song of Songs 1:6 “Do not look upon me, because I am dark, because the sun has tanned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept.

Her mother and her brothers saw no beauty in her, and sent her to work the fields. She soon saw herself in the light of the rejection she had always received, and describes herself as being unkept. It was not until Solomon saw her, and poured his love upon her, that her real beauty began to appear. As others saw the love, attention, praise and affection given to her by the king, they began to reevaluate her. Soon, she was no longer the forgotten child in the fields, but became the princess admired by all. How she saw herself, and how others saw her, was now determined by the love given to her by the king.

There is a valuable illustration here, for those who have received Christ. We often see ourselves in light of the way we are treated by others. If we grew up being neglected, not having many friends, rarely picked for sporting events, or invited to the parties, we probably have developed a very low view of ourselves. We might not think  of ourselves as pretty, valuable, or worth very much. The problem here is, we are looking at ourselves through the eyes of others, instead of through the eyes of Christ. If we want to uncover our true value, we must begin to evaluate ourselves in light of how He sees us.

Jesus laid aside the glories of heaven, wrapped himself in human skin, and laid His life down, in order to purchase us as His beloved. While we were living our own life with little thought of Him, He has been thinking of us more than there are grains of sand on the sea shores. He is watching over us as a father does his children, and has been praying for us daily. He orchestrated events in our lives to get our attention, and sent forth His Spirit to draw us unto Himself. When we finally received Him, He turned heaven into a celebration in anticipation of our arrival. When we stumble back into the things from which He delivered us, He provides forgiveness through the cross, cleansing through His word, and strength by His Spirit. All this, so we might overcome these failures and grow ever more like Him. When we talk about Him, He writes it in His journal, and even spends time singing about us.

Beyond question we are His beloved.

Pastor Jim