Did God know when he created the earth that people were going to do bad things and that there would be sin and pollution?
Well, yes…he did know all of that.
Then why would he even make us at all? Why not make better people who did the right stuff?
This is a conversation I found myself in yesterday with my ten year old daughter. Kids have this way of easily and unwittingly diving right to the heart of the deeper issues. Why would God make us knowing what he knows about us? Why even bother?
Reading through Exodus we get a glimpse into just how frustrating we as people can be. And we get insight into why God even bothers. What God wants is startling—maybe not to those of us who grew up in the church—we have this nasty habit of being desensitized. It’s that old problem of over-familiarity. As Richard Foster writes, “Familiarity breeds unfamiliarity.” But it should be startling to us; and exciting as well.
Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel: `You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.” Exodus 19:3-6
What does God want? Relationship. He wants to be our God and us to be his people. He invites the Israelites right here in Exodus 19. He invites them right in. Practically falling all over himself trying showing just how anxious he is to be in relationship with them. He comes to Moses and makes no apologies for his deep interest in people.
I brought you here right to myself. Let’s be in relationship. Let’s agree to live life together. You will be my special treasure.
In dating terms this is not a recommended approach, it could come off somewhere between awkward and creepy. But for the God of the universe it’s an amazing invitation. To invite us right in to a life of togetherness. I am trying to appreciate the depth of this offer. I’ve heard it so much it almost feel like a natural development. Like what should be expected from God. I think that’s the result of too much familiarity with the story. This is a radical, reckless, unadvised offer God makes us. We will just screw this up! He shouldn’t give us this gift of relationship. We will not take good care of it! And yet he does. He is driven to offer it. It’s why he made us.
So we find this unashamed expression of love and interest and longing here. How could God long to be with us? How could he be interested in us? In Exodus this invitation is just extended to the Israelites. The coming of Jesus makes the offer to all of us. We are invited in. We are offered this role of special treasure.
Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. Ephesians 2:11-14
We are invited in. The walls are torn down. The obstacles are removed. God wants us—as we are. Because we are who we are.