Jan 11, 2009

Set Apart . . . by God, for God

You can be sure of this:
      The LORD set apart the godly for himself.
      The LORD will answer when I call to him.

Throughout the Scripture, God sets apart people for himself and his purposes. Often the Bible uses the language of holiness to depict this act of setting apart. In Psalm 4:3, however, the language is slightly different though the idea is the same. Here, God distinguishes (Heb. verb plh) those who are godly (Heb. chasid) because they have received God’s faithful love (Heb. chesed). In other words, Psalm 4:3 does not mean, if we make ourselves godly, then God will set us apart. Rather, God sets us apart in his mercy, making a covenant with us based on his salvation. He makes us godly so that we might live in a godly manner.

But the emphasis in Psalm 4:3 is not upon how we live in our godliness. Rather, this verse underscores the fact that the Lord has set us apart “for himself.” We belong to him, not primarily to do his work, but because he loves us and seeks relationship with us. We serve the Lord, therefore, in response to his initiation, and in an intimate relationship with him.

Here is today’s good news: God has set you apart for himself. God wants relationship with you. He seeks intimacy with you, so that you might know his amazing love. What a wonder!

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you think of God as having set you apart for himself? Why or why not? How might this idea make a difference in your life if you really believed it?

PRAYER: Gracious Lord, first of all, I thank you today that you have set me apart on the basis of your sovereign grace, not because of anything I have done. In no way am I godly enough to earn your favor. But I am a glad recipient of your grace which binds me to you and helps me to be more like you. My godliness is borrowed, completely borrowed. Thank you, dear Lord, for being such a generous lender.

And thank you as well for setting me apart for you, not just for your work, but first of all for relationship with you. What an incredible privilege it is to know you, to have freedom to speak to you, to rely upon you, and to call you Father. O Lord, even as I seek to serve you with my life, may my service be an outgrowth of my intimate relationship with you. Amen.

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