First Reading: Exodus 19:2-6a

A Kingdom of Priests

What do we owe God?

2 When they had departed from Rephidim, and had come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mountain.3 Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him out of the mountain, saying, "This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.'

World English Bible

How did God mold the people into a nation? By declaring a relationship between himself and Israel. Gathered into the desert at the foot of Mount Sinai, the people waited as Moses heard the word of God. [19:2]

The Lord spoke to the people through Moses with a history and a promise. "I freed and cared for you," God seemed to remind the people. "Now, if you keep my word and my covenant, you will be my people!" [19:4-6a]

Notice what kind of people God would form, a kingdom of priests and holy nation. While Israel had a priesthood, the people were privileged to have knowledge and worship of the true God. The people may have squandered that privilege from time to time, they still had God's promise of their relationship with him. It was a promise that would pass from generation to generation.

Both Christian and Jew share in that promise, for we both have a relationship with the same God. We have the right to worship him, and the responsibility to pass that promise onto the next generation.

How do you keep God's promise? How can you pass that promise on to others?