Thinking Like the Remnant

church, sunset, nature

Early in redemptive history, God gave the Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai. He did so on the heels of the exile. Israel, in Egyptian bondage for four centuries, was miraculously rescued from her servitude. Regarding the Law, God’s people were promised blessings for obedience, and curses for disobedience. The greatest curse promised was exile from the Promised Land (Leviticus 26).

After generations of disobedience, God fulfilled this promise by sending his people into exile beginning with the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires. Uprooted, Israel was forced to live as strangers, far away from Israel.

But God pledged he would not forget his people. He always would preserve a faithful remnant. Scattered, he knew who they were. He knew where they were. To be in physical exile was not ideal, but it also could be considered a privilege. Some of those privileges being God still was in relationship with them and it was a vivid reminder that their citizenship was not in the kingdom of man but in the kingdom of God—a graphic reminder that this world was not their home.

To consider oneself part of the remnant today sounds and feels proud and conceited. To declare oneself part of the faithful minority as opposed to being lumped with the unfaithful majority smacks of arrogance. We remind ourselves it is God who gets to dole out labels.

The Apostle Peter, however, writes that God’s people are in exile, saying so in 1 Peter 3:17. “And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile…” So, as exiled believers, we are instructed to “conduct yourselves with fear.” But what does that look like? Peter answers the question in the next two verses, “Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (vv. 18-19). In short, we are to remember that we have been redeemed.

In many ways, we live in a hostile land. We certainly are outnumbered. Most of our neighbors, colleagues, classmates, and acquaintances are citizens of the world. Some are openly antagonistic to us “foreigners,” those of us who are citizens of another kingdom.

How are we to live? How are we to function? Perhaps even the question, how are we to survive?

We’ve been given the answer. Know that we have been redeemed by Jesus. We are reminded of such at church. Each Lord’s Day worship is a covenant renewal ceremony. Meaning, each Sunday morning worship service reminds us of our obligations to the one who has made us his own. Each worship service retells the great story of our redemption and that we are blood-bought citizens of heaven. We also are reminded we are not alone. God has his redeemed. They sit next to us in the pew. We are not alone.

God’s people have always needed the church. And we certainly need it today. Every seven days the Call to Worship goes forth. The remnant is to gather. It is there we are strengthened. It is there we are given our marching orders. It is there plans and strategies are set forth.

To miss the gathering of the remnant is to further isolate yourself and family. It is to be cut-off from supplies and support. During Sunday morning we separate ourselves from the ungodliness of this world. As a member of the remnant, it is vital you are here.

Outnumbered? Scorned? Misunderstood? Disliked? Yes, we are. But we have been redeemed. The exiled remnant gathers again this weekend. See you Sunday.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
July 21, 2022