Several decades ago, I was told the man had a small sawmill operation behind his house, so I stopped by. “Can you mill some shipwreck wood into boards for me?” I inquired. “I can’t cut that,” he grumbled, “It’d be full of nails. It would tear up my blades.” I nodded in understanding, but as I turned to leave, he asked, “What is your name?” I told him. He paused. “Did your mother run a hospital, years ago, down on Duncan Avenue?” he wondered, now in a reflective tone. “That would have been my grandmother, my father’s mother,” I replied. We stood together in the moment, but the far-off look in his eyes told me memories had returned him, his heart in tow, to an earlier place and time. “I was in that hospital for weeks, and she took care of me,” he recalled softly with a deep gratitude not weathered by time, “Why don’t you bring your wood here tomorrow?”
To the nation of Israel, Moses scribed, “It was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out [from all peoples] with a mighty hand and redeemed you …”1 In faithfulness to generations past, God declared these to be “his people, his treasured possession.”2 How true to His promises, then, He would be, for as the apostle Paul would one day write of Israel, “Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”3 All of this because God loved, God promised, and God remembered.
Yet God’s blessings beget further blessings, and so He ultimately claimed for Himself all who will believe in Jesus, this “God over all.” Then how does God view us? “You are a chosen people,” wrote Peter to the early church, “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”4
I will never forget the kindness of the man who, gratefully recalling a grandmother I had never known, was willing to sacrifice for her grandson whom he had never met. His mercy was a surface reflection of our God whose faithfulness springs from depths we cannot fathom. He will never forget us, His people, for He has made us His own, just as He promised.
Father, your promises are completely trustworthy, for you make them in love and keep them in power. Thank you for making us your own. Use us today, in big ways or small, to reflect your goodness and glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Christ in me is redemption.
1 Deuteronomy 7:7, 8
2 Deuteronomy 7:6
3 Romans 9:4, 5
4 1 Peter 2:9, 10