What God Obtains
“Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance” (Isaiah 19:25).
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God’s Inheritance? From whom might God inherit anything? Most often, we think of inheriting possessions from someone who went before us, those from whom we receive our heritage. But from whom might God inherit?
In the Old Testament, the word often translated inheritance means “property,” “portion,” or “share.” The implication is that this “portion” is something that has been received from someone greater, a benefactor. But when applied to God, this “portion” or “share” means God’s possession — that which God owns and ends up with from the process of creation, salvation and redemption. The final receiving by God of His inheritance is a wondrous and noble event — the culmination of His plan for all of creation throughout the ages.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. God looked upon that which He created, and it very was good (Genesis 1:1, 31). This elegantly simple language describes an overwhelming event. A perfect creation. A countless number of stars, galaxies and other heavenly wonders, all in their proper courses, traveling in a perfectly synchronized triumph.
Upon the earth, life. The perfect combination of sunlight, nutrients, and atmosphere to sustain an abundance of plant and animal life so complex, interrelated, and wondrous that men marvel at its quiet grace and beauty.
The newly-created heavens and earth were so wonderful that the Morning Stars sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7). Imagine the beauty that would stir the Logos and the rest of God’s heavenly family to spontaneously break out into songs of praise to their Loving Father. The heavens and the earth are masterpieces of creation and are part of God’s prized possession — the inheritance He will enjoy for eternity.
The jewel of God’s earthly creation was mankind. In man, God created more than just a living, neurological work of art. He created an earthly being with whom He could foster an emotional, spiritual and familial relationship. In man, God placed the potential for love — beings that He could love, beings that could love Him, and beings that could love each other.
When God created the earth, much of it was yet unfinished. The Garden of Eden was ready to receive mankind and to provide every human need, but the rest of the earth was still unfinished and rather unwelcoming. Similarly, mankind was created perfect but also unfinished. He was perfect in the sense that he was sinless and had the complete potential to develop character, faith, wisdom and love. However, those prized qualities of human life had not yet been fully learned. Mankind had complete potential but incomplete knowledge and experience.
The relationship God had with Adam and later Eve was beautiful and fulfilling — seamless, warm, and tender. God was now the Father of a beautiful human son and daughter. Though God foreknew the downward course mankind’s life would take into sin, perhaps God felt an ache in His heart when He heard His son Adam say, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid” (Genesis 3:10).
Under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, mankind began its journey into sin, a journey so deep that it would take the grand plan of salvation thousands of years to resolve. But the final result, a race of human sons and daughters redeemed, restored, educated, and finished, living on a perfect, finished earth, will be another part of God’s inheritance that He will love and cherish forever. This is the “new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” and where mankind “shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:3). “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
In addition, God has selected out a privileged few — Israel — to give them a special blessing. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, God frequently mentions that He would take Israel as a people to be His special inheritance.
Deuteronomy 4:20 says to Israel, Even if you see the rest of the world worshipping the creation, do not be tempted to do the same. You shall worship me. I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of the iron furnace of slavery because you are Mine. You are my inheritance.
“When the Most High gave nations their homes and set the divisions of man, He fixed the boundaries of peoples in relation to Israel’s numbers. For the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob His own allotment” (Deuteronomy 8:32 JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh). God arranged the world with Israel’s advantage in mind, because Israel is His own inheritance.
Psalm 33:12-22 speaks about how privileged the nation is that has been chosen to be God’s special inheritance. God knows how the human heart reasons; that mankind has a propensity to trust in human strength. But those things will not save them. Only God’s protection will save His children. Blessed is the nation that God has chosen as His inheritance — to protect and to cherish. The Psalmist concludes, So bless us, God, in proportion to the amount of faith we have in you.
Psalm 78:70-72 tells us that David spent his young life caring for sheep, providing for their needs and protection. David wholeheartedly cared for his sheep because he loved them. Because God so loved Israel, He chose a man like David to be their king — a leader who would love Israel in the same way God loves them.
Even with this backdrop of God’s complete faithfulness, Israel found it difficult to be faithful to God. In Deuteronomy 9 Moses said to Israel, God has given you a miraculous freedom from Egypt, protection from hunger, from suffering and from the serpents of Horeb. God has also given you an exclusive relationship with Him under the law; but you have continually disobeyed Him, distrusted Him and rebelled. It would be righteous for God to destroy you right here, but I have reasoned with Him. I have said to God that it would be a shame to bring you out of Egypt with such a strong hand just to destroy you here in the desert. It would be a shame to destroy you after He has invested in you so much grace and mercy. I said to God, Yes, they are stiffnecked, but they are yours. I said to God, Do not act toward Israel based on their lack of faith. Instead, act toward them based on the abundance of faith of their fathers — Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
As in Exodus 32:14, “The LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.” Justice would dictate that the people should be destroyed for their sin. However, Moses, a picture of the Redeemer, would intercede on the people’s behalf, and the people’s relationship with God would continue.
Israel escaped complete destruction but not punishment. “I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished” (Jeremiah 30:11). God’s desire to admonish and correct His people is driven by an unbounded love for them. “For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (Proverbs 3:12).
God tells Israel, If you disobey I will punish you, but unfaithfulness in you will not produce unfaithfulness in me. The promises I have given you, I will keep them (Psalm 89:28-37). The Apostle Paul in Romans 11:25-29 repeats the same principle. God’s promises to Natural Israel are sure and uncompromised.
God promised Jacob that his children would be as the dust of the earth and through Jacob’s children (Israel), God would bless all the families of the earth (Genesis 28:14). This describes the time when the resurrected, restored Nation of Israel will be the natural seed of Abraham through whom the blessings of God’s kingdom will reach the whole world.
The New Creation
Another part of God’s inheritance will be the spiritual seed of Abraham — the New Creation. Every New Creature becomes a possession of God. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). During the Gospel age, God has been seeking a “people for his name” calling them “out of darkness into his marvelous light” (Acts 15:14, 1 Peter 2:9-10). These are a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.”
The Greek word translated “peculiar people” in 1 Peter 2:9 is the same word translated “purchased possession” in Ephesians 1:14. This emphasizes the New Creation will be a part of God’s possession — His eternal inheritance. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthains 6:20).
Those who accept Christ have been given the power to become the sons of God (John 1:12). Just like Israel, the New Creation is blessed to receive God’s testing, correction, and chastisement. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6). Tribulation is a blessed part of the New Creation’s life experience. Tribulation works patience, which leads to experience, which is the evidence of character. Experience leads to hope — a firm and joyful confidence in the promise of the resurrection. This kind of hope, once established, cannot be disheartened (Romans 5:3-5).
Each member of the New Creation is handpicked by God himself out of every family of the earth. No one can come to Jesus unless God first draws him (John 6:44). What an undeserved privilege it is to be noticed and drawn by God to be a footstep follower of Jesus. It is an unspeakable privilege to be drawn by God to appreciate and follow Jesus through life. God drawing each member of the New Creation is an indication that He desires to have a very special eternal relationship with each individual member.
When Abraham sent his trusted servant to find a wife for Isaac, Abraham pictured God and Isaac pictured Christ. Likewise, God is selecting those who will become part of His beloved son’s bride. One of the most blessed events in a father’s life is to see a lovely, noble lady marry his son. When finished, faithful and resurrected, the Church will be a beloved daughter-in-law in whom God will be well pleased — a joyful part of His eternal inheritance.
The promise that God will receive His inheritance means that all things will eventually work together for good. Every broken heart will find its place of welcome, peace, and safety. God’s wisdom, power, justice and love will ensure an eternity of righteousness, peace, and harmony with Him for all creation. Yes, God’s inheritance.
Categories: 2015 Issues, 2015-July/August