“You will be for me a kingdom of priests”.
Ex 19:6 NIV
From time to time a nation gets the idea that it has a special task. The Afrikaner people came to believe that they were placed at the southern end of Africa in order to bring “Christian civilization” to Africa. It was their God-given calling – or so they believed. No doubt the pioneers in the American west believed that they had some special purpose in opening up the wide open spaces of that part of the world as well.
The events at Sinai centre around the calling that God placed upon the Israelites. They were not liberated to become a prosperous people, nor a learned people, nor an industrious people. Their calling, from God was to be a “kingdom of priests”, or a “royal priesthood”. The first duty of a priest was to teach people about God and to give the people whatever message God wanted them to hear – a sort of mouthpiece for God. He also went to God on behalf of the people to convey their special prayers and petitions to God, as well as to intercede for them. The role therefore to which God assigned his special people was a religious one. They were to tell the world about God, speak his word to them, and call them to humble themselves before God and serve him.
In the New Testament this task devolves on the Christian church. It is not that the ministers of the church are to become priests. It is the body of believers as a whole who are to form the royal priesthood. The church therefore prays for the nation and the world. And it declares the truth of God to the world.
Lord, show me my role in this royal priesthood.