"On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai. After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘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.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” Exodus 19:1-6
There is a subtle but significant change that happens during these verses. Did you catch it?
In verse 3 it refers to the "house of Jacob". You remember Jacob don't you? He was their troubled ancestor who manipulated his twin brother to get his inheritance, then tricked their father to steal his brother's blessing. Jacob was later tricked in turn by his uncle who required Jacob to work for seven years to get to marry his true love only to find after the wedding that he had been given the wrong sister for a bride. He had to commit to seven more years to get the woman he loved.
The Jacob wrestled all night with an angel, an experience that changed his life and his name. As the angel said to him at sunrise, "Your name will no longer be Jacob......It will be Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed." Genesis 32:28
Up until this point, the group of Jacob's descendants standing before God in Exodus 19 had only been known by their family name. They were of the "house of Jacob." Now they became the "sons of Israel". At this defining moment in their history, we witness in some ways the birth of the nation of Israel, God's people, a new day in their relationship with God.
This covenant community would no longer be known just for where they had come from.They would now be known for who they were- the people of God, His own unique possession created to carry out a crucial role in reaching the nations and to fulfill God's kingdom purposes.
The statement from the last part of Exodus 19:5 confirms this fact. When God said, "You will be My own possession out of all the peoples, although all the earth is mine," He was not simply affirming His ownership of the physical earth, His rightful claim as Creator. He was also using this phrase to describe His relationship with Israel - not to give them privilege and standing alone but to give them purpose. They were to be possession, not to be admired on a shelf but to be maneuvered full forces into the world.
Will you attempt today to serve God as His movable possession, seeing the world through His eyes of love wherever you go?