“And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?…” (2 Sam. 7:23).
To many, being a member of any kingdom is a privileged position of honor and distinctiveness. Especially if their monarchy is well-respected by surrounding nations. But how much more of a privilege is it to be a member of the Kingdom of the King of all creation?
Understanding The Text
In this portion of Scripture, King David is responding to the oracle sent through Nathan the prophet by God. Upon considering his path to success and the establishment of his kingdom, David acknowledges that he has become who he is because of Who God is. He refers to the greatness of God and recognizes that God is not like the other gods of the surrounding nations.
In David’s estimation, God is Incomparable, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent. He acknowledges that he is unworthy of God’s grace, mercy, and benevolence. However, this outburst of praise and adoration leads David into another realm of acknowledgment and understanding.
At this moment, David makes an important observation. This observation is that if God is all of those things mentioned above, then as His chosen people, the people of Israel must too have the distinction of being great and incomparable as well. Let us make this clear, it is not that he is placing Israel on a level plane with God. He is saying that God’s greatness and distinctiveness have the natural cause and effect of making Israel great and distinctive in the eyes of the surrounding nations. It brings an undeserved level of respect for Israel.
Why Is Distinctiveness Important To Us?
This is important to us because upon the Apostle Peter’s description, we “…are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people…” (1 Pet. 2:9). This is speaking of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, this sounds very familiar. How so? Because God speaks almost the exact same words to Israel at Mount Sinai when He says, “Now, therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people…and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation…” (Ex. 19:5-6).
The Bible teaches us that God does not change (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8). If God is the same God now that He was in Old Testament times, then this means that His people should carry the same level of distinctiveness from the surrounding people as well. In other words, God never meant for us to ‘fit in’ with others. We are not members of any kingdom within this world. We are ‘set apart’ as a distinct people unto God so that we “should show forth the praises of Him Who hath called you (us) out of darkness into His marvelous light…” (1 Pet. 2:9).
Knowing that we are a distinct people who are set apart for a Distinct God should cause us to break forth in praise automatically like David. With this level of distinctiveness, however, comes a higher level of responsibility. We have become, as Christ has prayed, people that are in this world but not of this world (Jn. 17).
It means that we will experience the same hatred now that Jesus experienced in His times. This is often a price that some people are unwilling to pay. But it is the price we must pay for the life for which we have been chosen.
Sean Mungin, author of “The Thorn In The Flesh”