What privileges were given to Israel by God’s choosing, for personal, historic, spiritual and eternal purposes, are the same privileges available to anyone who reaches for them by faith, to everyone who wants to know Israel’s God, to all who long for goodness.
For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day? – Deuteronomy 4:7-8
The God of Israel, the God of Jacob, the One and the same God, of Joseph and Naomi and Hannah and Ruth and David and Daniel and Mary and Matthew and Luke and John and Peter and Paul and me… and hopefully the God of you…
This is the God who, over centuries of time, has proven His love and His faithfulness and His desire to make us His. So He can bless us. So He can share with us His unfailing, unending goodness.
For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him. You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, who remembers You in Your ways. – Isaiah 64:4-5a
For the past couple months in my devotions I have camped at the book of Isaiah. In reading the final chapters today, I’m tempted to go back to chapter one, to re-read this book that speaks deep, just as in these past weeks I re-read verses that invited me to read over and again… to allow eternal truths to seep into my consciousness, infusing me with the certainty of God’s promises, the same promises that remain accessible to those who in simple, eager faith call on Him.
But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You; – Isaiah 64:6-7a
How much God longs for His created beings, fashioned in His likeness, to reach for Him, to grab onto Him, and to wrestle with Him as Jacob did, insisting on a blessing… contending for a deeper faith… begging to see Him work on his behalf… demanding to know Him more.
The Creator Father never refuses the appeal of one who asks. He never turns away from one who seeks. And never ignores the knocking of one who desires admittance to His favor.
And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you. – Exodus 12:48-49
All through Scripture God’s privileges were within reach of those who desired to be one of His. Yes, His guidelines were to be followed. But no matter what nationality or culture an individual came from, if he or she was willing to join themselves to God’s people, His goodness extended to them as well.
Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, Go, view the land, especially Jericho. So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there… Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. So the men answered her, Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you. – Joshua 1
Rahab heard of the Israelite God. And Rahab wanted that kind of God. The God who is real, the God of heaven and earth. As she listened and wondered and responded, by faith, Rahab reached out to the God of mystery, as He reached out to her.
To be continued…