“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: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 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; 6 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.” – Exodus 19:3-6
This is very instructive to us today as it was for Israel when they were rescued by God from Egypt. God didn’t deliver Israel from bondage in Egypt so that they would live their own lives. He rescued them for himself (“brought you to myself”, He said). He delivered them so that they would be his people and as such should be obedient to his voice (his commands) and his covenant (v. 5). He promised them to be his most precious possession (imagine that!) among all peoples. They were all a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (v. 6). This meant that they would be his representatives among the nations. They would show others with their way of living that God was holy. Through this they would act as priests, people who were the middle person to show others the character and nature of God.
In 1 Peter 2:5, 9 the apostle Peters applies this passage to all followers of Jesus. He says,
“you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
“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.”
As followers of Jesus our calling is the same as it was then for the people of Israel. When the Lord rescued us through his blood from sin and eternal death, he made us all priests with direct access to God. We are priests of a chosen race, not because of any human or ethnic background but because we are his children. We are a royal or kingly priesthood people who can come directly through prayer to the throne of God our king. We are a holy nation that lives as we are told by our Holy God and as such, we are distinct from how this world lives. We belong to Him. The purpose of our calling is to tell others both by the way we live and by our words how great God is and that only he deserves to be famous.