Separated Out

1 Kings 8:52-61
52 Let your eyes be open to the plea of your servant and to the plea of your people Israel, giving ear to them whenever they call to you.
53 For you separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be your heritage, as you declared through Moses your servant, when you brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.”
54 Now as Solomon finished offering all this prayer and plea to the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had knelt with hands outstretched toward heaven.
55 And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying,
56 “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.
57 The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us,
58 that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers.
59 Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires,
60 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.
61 Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”

When I was in 5th and 6th grade, there was a special program called “Language Arts”. What it entailed was specialized education for those “advanced” students who excelled in English class – grammar, writing, and reading. For those two years, at the very beginning of the year, the Language Arts teacher would come into the classroom and read off a list of names – those students chosen to be in her special program. In 5th grade, we had no idea what was going on when that happened. Those students did not know they had been selected until their name was read and they didn’t know what they were getting into until the teacher explained it to them after they arrived in her special class. Those of us not chosen didn’t know what was going on either. We just knew we weren’t “special”. We were told “it doesn’t concern you so you don’t need to know what’s going on.” I was rabid with curiosity. And, after I found out what the class was about, I was determined that the next year, I would be in that group – which I was. There was something important about being separated out from the crowd.

Since the time of Abraham, 1,000 years before Solomon’s time, God had separated out for Himself a chosen people. Please note, they were not seen by God as “special” but as “chosen”. There’s a big difference there. These were not to be the only people God loved. They were simply to be the vehicle through which God proved His love to all the nations. They were chosen not because they were better, smarter, or more handsome than the rest of the world. They were chosen because God had important work for them to do. They were the people through whom God sent Jesus Christ. They were the people who received the promises made to all mankind regarding the love of God and His perfect plan of salvation for all who would believe in Him. They were set apart. As followers of Jesus Christ, we join that separated group of people. We too are chosen to show the love of God to the nations. We are not special; we are loved. We are not better than those around us; we are saved from the ravages of our sin. We are not more important than others; we are called to important work – the spreading of the Gospel. It’s an honor and a responsibility to have your name called out as one of the chosen people of God.