Suggested Reading: Ezekiel 15:1-8
Not long ago, I was asked to take a look at someone's iPod and fix it if I could. I'm handy with electronic devices and regularly repair broken cell phones, PC's and the like. So I took it and tried to figure it out. Unfortunately, I could never track down the problem with this particular iPod so it ended up sitting on a table until I gave it back to its owner. Most little electronic devices are like that. Once they break and cannot be repaired (or aren't worth repairing) they are worthless. They might be used as a toy so that a child can pretend, but that's about it. They don't really serve any purpose.
In Exodus 19:6, God told the Israelites whom he had rescued from slavery in Egypt, "You will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation" (NLT). Since God called Abraham out from his father's house in Ur of the Chaldees, God had molded and shaped this people to become a nation of priests. Not only were the Levites to be their priests, interceding for them before God, but the nation as a whole was to act as priests, interceding for the surrounding peoples and drawing them to God. Instead, they had steadily and surely begun worshiping other gods, allowing themselves to be influenced rather than doing the influencing. God had not only called them but shaped and molded them for a purpose and they refused to fulfill it. For all intents and purposes, they were broken and worthless, as far as fulfilling their purpose. In Ezekiel 15, God spoke through the prophet, "Vines are useless both before and after being put into the fire! And this is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Jerusalem are like grapevines growing among the trees of the forest. Since they are useless, I will throw them into the fire to be burned" (Ezekiel 15:5-6, NLT).
The fierceness of God's disappointment with those God designed to be a nation of priests should be a severe warning for us today. 1 Peter 2:9 transfers the language God used about the Israelites to believers in Christ saying, "You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light" (NLT). Romans 8 tells us that God is in the process of transforming us into the likeness of Christ. God has created, designed, and shaped us for the purpose of drawing all people to him. If we are not fulfilling that purpose, we are essentially broken iPods; we might be able to pretend or to take up space, but we are not reaching the potential for which we were designed.
How are we drawing people to God? Are we interceding for the people around us and working with God to call people out of darkness into his wonderful light? If we're not, our lives might need a little repair.
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