Exodus 19:3-6 - Treasured Possession
If you feel different than the world around you, realize it's because your head is wet.
Read / Listen
Read Exodus 19:3-6
Context: God has just rescued His people from Egypt and is preparing to meet them at Mt. Sinai and give them His commandments...
3 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: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 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, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 74
Q. Should infants, too, be baptized?
Infants as well as adults
are in God’s covenant
and are his people.
They, no less than adults, are promised
the forgiveness of sin
through Christ’s blood
and the Holy Spirit
who produces faith.
Therefore, by baptism,
the mark of the covenant,
infants should be received
into the Christian church
and should be distinguished
from the children of unbelievers.
This was done in the Old Testament
which was replaced in the New Testament
The grand finale of God freeing His people from their slavery in Egypt was Israel passing through the Red Sea on dry ground. Centuries later, the Apostle Paul would come to understand that this tremendous miracle was a type of national baptism, that as God's people passed through the sea, they came to belong to Him (1 Corinthians 10:1-2).
Indeed God understood it this way as well, telling Moses that He had carried His people on eagles' wings and brought them to Himself. Now, at the foot of Mt. Sinai, God once again establishes His covenant with His people: they will be his treasured possession and a holy nation (a people separate from all others).
But remember, a covenant is a solemn agreement between two parties based on a contingency. There's a big 'ol if in God's words to Moses: He says they will be a holy nation if they "fully obey me and keep my covenant."
In the next chapter, Exodus 20, God expresses these covenantal stipulations in 10 categories we often refer to as the ten commandments, and then much of what follows in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) give laws and regulations that seem really strange to us. Well, they seemed really strange to the Israelites as well, and by design. One of the key purposes in all of those Old Testament laws was to make God's people look really different than the nations who lived around them.
Today we're focusing on one of the key reasons we baptize the children of believers in Reformed churches is to distinguish them from the children of unbelievers. We understand that these are covenant children, and that the same promises the God made to the Israelites in the desert thousands of years ago now apply to them - only now the contingency (the 'if' part) has been fulfilled by Christ. This means that we must raise our children differently than the world does, and that they from the moment they are received into God's covenant family must live holy lives - that is, lives that are separate from the world.
Thankfully on this side of the cross, we no longer need to abide by strange dietary regulations or participate in all sorts of ritualistic ceremonies as we worship. Nor does being a holy nation mean that we ignore the rest of the world, and we must also realize the word nation here has nothing to do with a particular country or geographic borders.
But we give our children the mark of the covenant, just as God has always commanded His covenant people to mark & distinguish their children. Just as the prince of England is treated as royalty from the moment he's born, so to must we treat our children as princes and princesses of the King, separated from the sinful world by His grace.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who carries His covenant children on eagles' wings;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for including you in His covenant promises, that Christ fulfilled your obligation, and pray that you would live as the holy person (saint) that you've been declared to be;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Luke 8