April 17, 2019

A Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation

Exodus 19

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Israel at Mount Sinai

On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, while Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD. And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.”

When Moses told the words of the people to the LORD, 10 the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot;1 whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. 15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. 20 The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

21 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the LORD to look and many of them perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, lest the LORD break out against them.” 23 And Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and consecrate it.’” 24 And the LORD said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, lest he break out against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.


[1] 19:13 That is, shot with an arrow

A Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation

Key Verse | Exodus 19:5-6

"'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel."

Bio | Alyssa Cottrell

Hey, y'all!

My name is Alyssa, and I am excited to be on The Journey with you today! I am currently a Fellow in the Institute program here at Watermark. I get to spend my Thursday nights studying the Bible with hundreds of women each week through the Watermark Women's Bible Study, and it is such a joy!

A few fun facts about me:

• I love to travel and have visited 18 different countries;

• I can speak a little Mandarin;

• Paperback books, Volcano candles, and cookies & cream ice cream are a few of my favorite things!

Central Truth

We are set apart as God's chosen people, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. This is our identity as the people of God, and it comes with a mission: to proclaim His goodness to the nations. 

Devotional | Exodus 19

About a year ago, I began to wrestle with my identity. Who was I, really? How did the gifts God gave me fit into His mission?

In Exodus 19, God is about to give the Israelites Ten Commandments and the Law. These were...

About a year ago, I began to wrestle with my identity. Who was I, really? How did the gifts God gave me fit into His mission?

In Exodus 19, God is about to give the Israelites Ten Commandments and the Law. These were rules and regulations for how they were to live. But before He gives them guidelines on how to act, He tells them who they are to be. God set them apart as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, a people for His own possession (Exodus 19:5-6).

God chose the Israelites to be a blessing to all nations. They would bless the nations around them by showing God's glory and goodness in the ways they interacted with one another, worshiped, and lived.

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9, emphasis added) This language in 1 Peter 2:9 looks familiar, doesn't it? Peter is saying that we who are in Christ are also set apart as God's own possession. We, too, are set apart as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation to showcase God's goodness and glory to those around us. How amazing is that? Our identity is that of God's chosen people. Our mission: to share His goodness with those around us.

God has gifted all of us with different personalities, passions, and gifts. As believers in Christ, we share one identity as the people of God, His treasured possession. My identity, above all, is as one of God's chosen people and a priest in His kingdom. And my mission, regardless of vocation or circumstances, is to share His goodness with those around me. He has bestowed upon us the highest of identities and given us the greatest of tasks—telling everyone of the God who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Let's live out our identity and mission with boldness today, friends!

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Discussion Questions

1. How does who you believe you are affect the way you act?

2. What lies do you tend to believe concerning your identity?

3. How can you proclaim God's goodness to those around you today?

7 Comments available

Don Freeman 1 day ago


Sue Bohlin 2 days ago

I sure enjoyed your devo, Alyssa, thanks!

I poked around a couple of resources for insight on why there were priests (vv. 22, 24) before the Aaronic priesthood would be established in future chapters. Apparently the Lord formalized already-existing parts of ancient life, like the Sabbath rest that was mentioned when the manna started. We’ve heard of priests in Egypt (Joseph married a priest’s daughter), and Moses’ father-in-law Jethro was a priest of Midian. Then there was Melchizedek. This makes sense since humans are hard-wired to worship!

Michael Scaman 2 days ago

The mountain image in the Bible is kind of interesting.

It starts with an inaccessible mountain of God (Sinai) that can’t even be touched with sounds and images that would even seem fearful. Thunder and clouds. You touch it you die.

It moves to much more accessible mountain of God (Zion - Jerusalem) where people even dwell and worship. And David moves the ark up the mountain for everyone to worship there now accessible. (in comparison at least) If you saw mount Zion you might even ask ‘that’s a mountain?’ its more like a hill.

Last it moves heavenward. In Ephesians 4, Paul takes the ark moving up the mountain images from Ps 68 as pointing to the Ascension of Jesus. And in Hebrews Zion represents a heavenly place of celebration with the angels, a heavenly version of Jerusalem

greg jones 2 days ago

Great devotional this morning. I read chapter one of first Peter, it has a very Jewish feel in it’s introduction. Peter talks about the grace that is to be brought when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming v13. Be holy because I am holy v16, Lev.19:2. Since you call on a Father who judges each persons work impartially live as foreigners here v17. It sounds like a break from the idea of highly ritual worship being any kind of blessing to the outside world.

There is a reform by many Jews about why they believe what they believe initiated by this man Jesus.

Shawn Foster 2 days ago

Thank you for putting the spotlight on these amazing truths Alyssa! You might call DFW a land of over achievers, and the enemy wants us to identify any way but this one…So when he says ‘you are a bench warmer, or you are never going to win’ we can simply ask “Jesus, is that you?” I heard something but only want to hear from you. Your word says 1Peter 2:9, Thank you for making us that! I am not able but you are!" I can proclaim His goodness by sharing my struggles and the truth that I am captivated by no longer bound by chains. Then asking, “has anyone ever shown you what the bible says it takes to get into heaven?” John 5:24. Thanks again, your last paragraph is more than daily bread- it’s a steak dinner. Hallelujah.

Lindsey Driscoll 2 days ago

This Sinaitic covenant to obey God fully and be a treasured possession. What a promise from a loving God. God desired for his people to be set apart, in obedient relationship with him. I love that God’s glory is so great he protects his people from fully seeing it by coming in a dense cloud (19:9), and therefore not dying as they could not stand in the Glory of God without a covering.

Hugh Stephenson 2 days ago

I have heard many “if…then” promises in my life. None bigger than this one.

2 Timothy 3:16 - This is a supernatural moment. As I visualize it piece by piece I can almost see and hear the spectacular display of God’s presence and power.

Why did the people fall back in to sin so easily? (Hebrews 12:1). Why do I?

God makes it so easy. All I have to do is accept His free invitation to be His forever.

All He says is “if” (verse 5).

Shouldn’t this promise drive me each waking hour - “…you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples…”

It seems that God knows my sinful nature so well that He not only gives me this promise but essentially requires that I wrap myself up in the Shekinah and His word day and night, (Psalm 1:1-2).

May I constantly call on His Spirit.

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