A couple of weeks ago I was reading in the book of Revelation, and I came across a verse that caused me to stop and reflect for a few minutes. It was a familiar verse, a verse I had heard before. It was in Revelation 21:3 – and it said, “I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
It was familiar because I had seen in the Old Testament. In fact, this same phrase, worded the same way, is found five times in the Old Testament. It’s found in Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. “I will be their God, and they will be my people.” It’s also found, in different words, in several other places. I’ve always thought that if God cares so much about something that he repeats it several times, it must be important.
As I was reading in Revelation, I was reading about the new heaven and the new earth, what a splendid place it would be, and it occurred to me that one of the things that would make it a splendid place was this verse. “I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
I reflected on what that would look like, I like to try to visualize these verses in the context of our times, what it look like today if all people were truly God’s people. We can only imagine what that might be like. I’m sure each of us have some thoughts that come to mind about what that might be like. Some of our thoughts might be similar, but many our thoughts would be very different. Overall, I wonder if we really can imagine. I wonder if our thoughts would do justice to the glory and the splendor of an entire planet truly living as God’s people.
I don’t think we can imagine what that would be like. But we can imagine what it would be like if we were truly God’s people. We can start there. That’s what we’re really called to be, isn’t it. We are God’s people. We struggle and stumble as we try to live that out in our daily lives. Some days are easier than others. But still, we are God’s people. We can imagine our relationships if we’re fully turned over to God. We can imagine God’s blessings if we’re totally surrendered to God. We can imagine ourselves doing the things that Jesus would do if he were here. We can imagine God working through us because we are fully open to him, fully surrendered, fully His.
There is a story about a fellow who came in deep distress to see his pastor. "No matter how much I pray, no matter how hard I try, I simply cannot seem to be faithful to my Lord. I think I'm losing my salvation." The pastor said, "Do you see this dog here? He is my dog. He is house-trained; he never makes a mess; he is obedient; he is a pure delight to me. Out in the kitchen I have a son, a baby son. He makes a mess, he throws his food around, he dirties his clothes, and he is a total mess. Who is going to inherit my kingdom? Not my dog; my son is my heir. You are Jesus Christ's heir because it is for you that He died." We are Christ's heirs, not through our perfection but by grace.
We are God’s people. Live as people of God.