sermon: His Eye Is on the Sparrow (Part Four)
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 07-May-16; Sermon #1321; 73 minutes
Much of Protestantism shares more of an approach to Deism (God establishes His laws and then abandons His creation to their machinations) than to Theism (God maintains watchful control on His Creation). In the Dispensationalist views of John Darby and Cyrus Scofield, God, like an absent-minded inventor, continually changed His approach, in the process dumbing down the process for salvation. In reality, God has had the same plan from the beginning, creating godly seed in His image, having His inner character. From the beginning, God has set certain individuals apart, putting them through an intensive sanctifying process, purifying, cleaning, and perfecting their character until they reflect His image like a mirror. From the line of Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God has called individuals who demonstrated blamelessness in their dealings, providing them grace, giving them tools to perform tasks He ordained for them, continually proving their faithfulness. Sanctification requires that we clean up our act, from our physical lives to our spiritual lives, having clean and wholesome thoughts as we wear clean garments. As we, the descendants of Seth, Noah, and Abraham, progress in the sanctifying (sanitizing and cleaning) process, we can expect antagonism and enmity from the seed of Satan, that is, the descendants of Cain, those who, under Satan, move and shake to this present evil generation), those who hate and reject God's Law and His covenants.
Please do not let yourselves lose track of the overall purpose of this series of sermons. I have purposely titled this series, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” to highlight its purpose, and its purpose is to give us additional proof that God is personally involved in the entire process of His purpose and plan. Why do this? Because most of the people calling themselves Christians are at a pretty high level of practicing deism. This is nothing new because a number of the founders of this nation were deist.
Thomas Jefferson is probably the best known of that particular group. Deism is still a reality in this nation to this day. A deist is one who believes in a personal God who created all things, set natural laws in motion making mankind subject to them, and then essentially paying no attention to what is going on. In other words, He is not really guiding and directing things within His creation.
I was pleased to hear the sermonette that we had today from Charles, because it touched on something that I mentioned to you before—how every time it seems that I got into a conversation with my father-in-law about something biblical he would bring up the subject of dispensation. He was deeply involved in his church as a young person, which was in the late 1890s, and on into the early 1900s. That kind of doctrine that Charles was talking about, was in its heyday under Dr. Scofield (who never was a doctor in the first place, though he was very intelligent). At least spiritually and religiously he was wrong. He was a promoter of Darby's concept of dispensation. In dispensationalism, as Charles explained very clearly, God kept changing His approach as He came through time with His creation and the different peoples that he was encountering as time was moving toward its conclusion. He was wrong, woefully wrong.
I never got into an argument with my father-in-law because I respected him too much, I did not want to put him down in any way. I knew that he would not be changing it anyway, after 70 years of believing in dispensationalism, so I just let it pass, because it was not going to be a positive situation from which he can learn.
If what I am giving to you is rightly understood and applied at this time, it should be very helpful toward building your faith. God is on the job, and God is on the ball! He has been following the same approach and plan since the very beginning. He does not change, only man changes his mind about God and the purpose that He is working out.
My approach is rather long and drawn out, but I am proving it to you from the Scriptures. Therefore, that is one reason why I have to keep going back and forth in the Bible to connect one thing to another, to make sure we get the circuitry in this completely right. I am using the judgment God made against Satan following Adam and Eve's sin in the Garden, as the link that ties everything together. Not everything, we have to tie one other doctrine into this.
My course in this series is getting done thoroughly step-by-step. One of the major points we must see clearly is that God at times reacts to the sinful activities of mankind, but what is truly important is that we grasp that God the Creator is the driving force toward completing His purpose within His plan. It is His purpose and His plan.
In the previous sermon we got to this point where God began a new line of descendants from Adam and Eve through Seth. That is usually termed by some researchers as ‘the holy line.’ I do not know why they call it the holy line, maybe because everyone in it was set apart. That is what the word means, or the way these people live their lives, in most cases they lived them in a right and good way as well.
We are seeing how God is separating certain ones to carry out certain responsibilities within what He is working out. We have witnessed Noah and his family being separated. That was a major step in the overall subject of sanctification. Here is another doctrine that is coming into this. It is exceedingly important that we understand sanctification, how it applies to us and our salvation. We will witness more of Noah in a little bit, and also the subject of sanctification, today.
Sanctification's purpose is a separation procedure unto, or toward, holiness. Sanctification is the means by which God guides and moves His purpose and plan toward His goal. In the Old Testament, objects as well as people are frequently declared holy simply because they are separated or set apart from others of the same kind, for some divine use.
Exodus 29:29-30 “And the holy garment [clothing can be made holy] of Aaron shall be his sons’ after him to be anointed in them and to be consecrated in them. That son who becomes priest in his place shall put them on for seven days, when he enters the tabernacle of meeting to minister in the holy place.
Even the space of time was designated that they had to be on the man who was going to be anointed as holy high priest. These rules had to be followed exactly.
Exodus 29:33 They shall eat those things with which the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them; but an outsider shall not eat them, because they are holy.
Only certain people could wear these holy garments.
Exodus 29:37 Seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and sanctify it, and the altar shall be most holy. Whoever touches the altar must be holy.
Very strict rules, laws, for dealing with things that are holy.
A building, utensils, altars, clothing, even soil and ceremonies, are declared holy in the Bible. More importantly a person can be declared holy, like a priest, or a prophet, because they are used in the service of God. The emphasis in the Old Testament is not on a person literally becoming holy as a result of his consistent humble obedience through the power of God's Holy Spirit. I am not saying that aspect is not in the Old Testament, do not get the idea that in the Old Testament a person is never declared holy, or never told to become holy. It is a matter of emphasis in the Old Testament.
In the New Testament those two positions are radically reversed. A person’s becoming holy is the goal of Christian life. The difference is, in the Old Testament the emphasis is on a thing being named holy that is used. In the New Testament the emphasis is on the person becoming holy. We need to get this straight. I am not saying that a person becoming holy is not in the Old Testament. The difference between the two is in the frequency and emphasis applied to the term, holy, within the context the term appears. Thus there are examples in the Old Testament that a Christian can use to become holy.
Why is New Testament holiness important to understand in becoming holy, even more important personally? There are two things important to our fundamental understanding in our relationship with God. First, He is in His very being, except for Him being the model used for our creation, completely separate, different from us, and that difference is holiness.
Second, this very difference is so admirable to the converted mind that once the reality of the difference between Him and us becomes apparent in our mind, becoming holy is the driving force of our life so that we are like Him in our very being. Do you want to be like God? Do you want to be in His Kingdom? Become holy like God is holy.
This is God's purpose for us, to make us the spitting image of Him. He is above all things, as compared to us, holy, and we are not. It is within this process we come to truly know Him. John 17:3, Come to know God so that we can be one with Him. It is within this drive to become holy that we come to truly know Him and strive to be like Him. The New Testament writers use the term sanctification to indicate that separation from others that God initiated. The New Testament writers used it to indicate not only the initial separation, but also the process of growth toward becoming like God.
What is God's holiness like? Here are a couple of simple illustrations that will help us to understand a little bit. Please turn to Exodus 19. God showed up at Mount Sinai. Please notice the things that occurred there.
Exodus 19:9-12 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever.” So Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.’ ”
What is He saying there, do not come near the mountain, you can come up to it but do not try to come up the mountain where I am. If you come up to the mountain you will die. We are beginning to see a little bit of the difference between holiness of God, and mankind as we are today. There is a reason why I am going through this, because God points out why we have to go through it.
Exodus 19:16-20 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings [God is approaching. When He arrived He had His holiness turned on. He came in full power with His holiness turned on.], and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke [it was burning], because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. Then the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
It is no wonder they thought Moses, when he did not come down for forty days, was dead. An illustration of when God shows up and does not have His holiness turned off. It is frightening. Isaiah said, I have seen the Lord and I am still alive. He could not understand why he was still alive. He knew enough about God he felt he should be dead.
Nahum 1:2-6 God is jealous, and the Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies; the Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers, Bashan and Carmel wither, and the flower of Lebanon wilts. The mountains quake before Him, the hills melt, and the earth heaves at His presence, yes, the world and all who dwell in it. Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire and the rocks are thrown down by Him.
The holiness of God as experienced by some who have been in His presence is described in the Bible as a sheer powerful force when manifested. Earthquakes, thunder, lightning, trumpet blasts, dense cloud, and deep darkness accompanied exposure to it. The presence of a mere man is nothing. The difference between God and man is so great it truly becomes apparent. Being in the presence of God is a shattering, humbling, fearful experience.
Even the times when God, for His purposes, muted the intensity of His appearance, the fact remains that He is so far above the purity of man in His being, His purpose for them would not be advanced if they were overwhelmed.
I am going to give you an obvious conclusion. In order for one to participate fully in a relationship with God, one must also become holy for our good, or the relationship will not occur. It is extremely important to God's purpose that the difference between Him and us is exceedingly important to us, it must be bridged. In order to have a relationship with Him we have to be like Him, and He is holy.
Please turn to Genesis 17. In a way we have a great insight, through Abram, as to how this bridging of the difference between God and us is attained.
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am almighty God, walk before Me and be blameless.
You know Abraham was a man chosen by God and Abraham is going to be in God's Kingdom. God gave him what appears on the surface to be a simple instruction: the way that you can become like Me is to walk before Me and be blameless.
Abraham is a great example of how this difference is bridged. First, God called him. Following his calling Abram lived by faith and maintained a very close relationship with God. We all know that because we know the story of Abraham pretty well. How did he maintain this very close relationship with God? By being blameless! This is important to us.
The term blameless is closest in meaning to the English term integrity. Integrity means complete, whole, sound, a state reached in humanity through God living in the person and the person achieving a small amount by being faithful. Integrity expresses God's command to be holy. He could have said, “Walk before Me and be holy.” Instead He explained the practical aspects of becoming holy. It is to be blameless.
God did that so that we would understand. It is not complex, but it is difficult. It requires a great deal of dedication to remain blameless, because we sin so easily. Being blameless is a tremendously high calling, but Abraham did it. If God enabled Abraham to do it He can do the same thing in us.
This does not mean that Abraham was perfect in obedience all of the time, but nonetheless in an overall sense, because of the connection between God and Abraham, Abraham indeed lived a blameless life. He is one of the most faithful men that has ever lived on the earth. He is a great example! He is the father of the faithful, so being blameless requires one to be faithful. By faith Abraham was consistent in his humble obedience.
I Peter 1:13-16 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind [set your will, study, be prepared, understand], be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. Because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
I am not saying it is easy to accomplish but there are examples of men who had God living in them and they did it—by faith.
Here is the charge that is given to those who are sanctified by God. This charge to us reveals that it is not enough for a human to be merely separated in order for the relationship and God's purpose to continue. Man must become holy in his heart, and in the conduct of his life.
Hebrews 12:14-15 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.
There cannot be a relationship without a holiness within those God is seeking a relationship with. That is a magnitude that God will accept. Remember I said earlier that holiness becomes the goal and the driving force of a Christian’s life. We have to ask ourselves: Do we want to see God? We are seeing the words of God and what He wants us to do, because He will not back away from His grace. If we are faithful He will resurrect us.
Psalm 51:10-11 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
That was a major goal in David's life. As the Bible clearly shows, there is only one way we can literally become holy. This is by God Himself precipitating the process in the first place, and then involving Himself in our life to keep the process toward godly holiness moving to its fulfillment. God will be faithful. He promises that. He is faithful to what He promised and what we have to do is to grow in understanding His faithfulness and trusting it as we go along.
The New Testament verses strongly signal a change in the use of the term sanctification. This does not mean that the saints of the Old Testament were not required to become holy in the same manner we do. It merely emphasizes a change from being separated to becoming a process of change also.
We will go back to Noah, he is one of our prime examples.
Genesis 6:8-9 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
In my Bible there is a little 1 beside the word perfect. In the margin it says, blameless. Same requirement for Noah as for Abraham. We are going to keep seeing this—blameless, aim for integrity. That is being a whole person. That is what the word integrity implies.
God is doing what He did here in verses 8, 9, and 10. It was something that occurred over and over again. It set Noah and his family apart from others who have not received the gift that Noah found. Verse 8 says Noah found grace.
We will clarify the timing of Genesis 6:8-9. We must not assume that God gave Noah the grace immediately before he embarked upon the building of the Ark. I say this because at this point in time Noah was already judged a just man who was blameless in his generations, he was already a faithful man. It is very clear that he did not earn the grace. Rather he found it, it was given to him. This points to a fact that Noah, at the time of this verse, was already living by God's Spirit at the time of the responsibility of the building of the Ark was given. Noah found grace, he was not born with it. God always gifts those He sets apart even as He gave all of mankind gifts at the creation.
The grace—gift—empowered Noah to accomplish what God intended, that is to live righteously and then build the Ark when the time for that arrives. Noah's faithfulness had to some level be proved. It was by the way he lived. Considering the time that he lived in and the size and scope of the building project, the task given to him was huge—so huge one hundred and twenty years was consumed in the building of it. How long was he faithful even before he began? We do not know. God knew when He gave him the grace that he was already a faithful man. Noah was set apart long before this episode occurred here in Genesis 6. He proved his faithfulness and then God gave him the grace to be able to do the job of building the Ark.
During that period of time his righteous living witnessed the separation to the world, making him separate, different, from others who have not received the same gift. The difference was thus revealed by his humble obedience, just like Abraham. There is a pattern that is being set. God gifts us and we submit to Him. Sometimes that is not easy to do, but that is taking advantage of the gift that He gives to us.
The root of the term sanctified in Greek is transliterated into English as ‘hag.’ It is very interesting because the root of that word which is translated into holy, or holiness, means pure. It means clean, regardless of whether it is used to indicate ceremonially set apart, or morally, in terms of purity. Thus the sense of cleanliness lies at the root of what we term holiness.
Exodus 19:9-10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever.” So Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. [Notice the instructions for the meeting that the people were going to have with God.]
This is the source of the cliché “cleanliness is next to godliness.” In order to meet with God we have to be clean. That came directly from God, make them wash their clothes. It is inferred that they also are to wash themselves, that is taken for granted. Washing their clothes was a much bigger job. They were out in a place where you normally think there is no water, but they had to wash their clothes. Whenever Moses met with God at the burning bush he had to take off his shoes because his shoes were dirty.
At the root of holiness is cleanliness. God is clean. What are we defiled by? Sin, sin is dirty, it is defiling, it stinks, it is terrible. God told the Israelitish people in the book of Amos, the way you people are keeping My Sabbath is a stench to Me! It stunk.
Holiness is cleanliness. Applied to living beings like you and me the cleanliness is in the heart. What did David ask God? “Create in me a clean heart.” The term here in Exodus 19:10 is consecrate, translated sanctified, same word exactly. When you become sanctified you begin to clean up your act, your conduct, your mouth, your ears, what your eyes see, everything begins to become clean as God calls clean.
Applied to God for humans, the cleanliness is in terms of purity of nature, heart, and those things in turn will be reflected in one’s conduct and attitudes. If the heart is really getting clean that is what will happen. It will show up in the pattern of life that we live.
Regarding behavior and attitude, sin is dirty, defiling. The standards of what is clean or unclean are set by God's behavior and written in God's laws. The term also carries with it the idea that if one is ‘hag,’ that is holy, then the person or the thing is to be highly respected or even reverenced. Do you ever wonder why in the protestant churches that the preacher is called Reverend? That is where it comes from. If a person is holy they are to be reverenced, that means respected highly.
It is that thought that gives the strong sense of separation from others that is not ‘hag.’ Are the pieces beginning to come together? The reason people who are sanctified are not liked is because to the unclean they are holy people. And because God is not in them they do not like it. It makes them uncomfortable.
Grace is a gifting. That is what the word essentially means. It is a sanctifying empowerment, because with the grace also comes gifts that He gives so that we can accomplish what it is that He wants us to accomplish. ‘Hag’ is the result of the grace given. It is brought on partly by merely receiving it, but even more so by the righteous use of the gifting. That is what Abraham did, that is what Noah did. They responded in the right way with the gift that was given to them, thus the person receiving the gift becomes set apart and empowered for God's purposes at one and the same time.
to me it really gets exciting for us individually because we ought to be able to experience what these people went through in our own lives, or maybe you experienced it and you do not even know that it happened, or what happened to you. We can look back and say, wow, what happened to those guys has happened to us! Are we going to take advantage of it?
Noah received it and he built an ark, Abraham believed it, and we do not see the action yet but he built an empire. He is the father of many nations. He did not just build a ship, many nations came flowing from him because he was faithful, blameless.
What we have reached at this point is this: going back to the curse of enmity placed on Satan in Genesis 3:15. The enmity thus produced a division that began between Satan and Adam and Eve. However, because God rules His creation—we might say He is always attentively on the job—the enmity continued on between Satan's descendants and Eve's descendants. Even though those people died the enmity went on because God is on the job.
To this point in this story that I am giving to you, two clear lines of descendants have developed from Adam and Eve. One line came from Eve through Cain, those people were unsanctified and receptive to Satan. The second line came from Eve through Seth, whom God gifted Eve with. They were somewhat protected by the enmity and that acted as an invisible shield, spiritual hedge, or wall. Much of the effectiveness of the enmity is in the form of fear. We have a fear built into us by God of Satan and that protects us because we have a tendency to turn away from his temptations.
One item that we must not overlook is that the enmity always produces a measure of stress between the descendants of Satan, and the descendants of Eve through Shem. The descendants of Satan are antagonized by the attitudes and the moral conduct of the descendants of Eve and persecute them and have done so throughout the centuries. This is because of the spirit of hatred that flows from their spiritual father Satan.
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.
Job 1:9-10 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not made a hedge around him, around his household. . .
I do not know how many others were also sanctified as Noah was. I am pretty sure Shem also was in that group that was sanctified in the same way that Noah was. I also know that God's blessing upon Noah and Shem included the rest of the family, because they went through the Flood as well.
Job 1:10 . . . and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
Job was a sanctified man. Job was a descendant of Adam and Eve through Seth. He was not part of the antagonistic line.
Things are beginning to line up as we move through time. God is consistent in giving us clues so that if we believe Him we can understand a great deal more about what is going on. We can see His purpose unfolding.
The term hedge is a way of describing the effect of the enmities of Genesis 3:15 as protection against Satan's advances. It also describes God's personal oversight as He works out His purpose. Satan clearly understood that God was personally involved in Job’s life.
The ‘holy line’ term does not mean that they were always pure in their behavior. It simply identifies the sanctified line of which Job was also a part. The enmity was not intended to protect them perfectly because God tests all of His children. Recall that I pointed out that God willed an us and them situation. God willed that there be opposition to the holy line. There is an us and them situation in this world. The descendants of Satan are most likely to be the ones that are against us. The hedge did form some protection in that they were indeed more resistant to his deceptions because they feared him to a greater degree.
Noah and his family were greatly protected by their sanctification, they were even given salvation from the Flood. This is something that I want to bring to your attention because it is extremely exciting. Only those sanctified by God escaped death in the Flood. If you have in any way in your mind denigrated sanctification as not being all that great of a thing, never forget that. It is important because it is the way that God is guiding and directing His people, His Family.
I wanted you to see that all the way through the timeline God was working and He was sanctifying people. He was working with them, and Satan was well aware of that judgment against him, and the hedge that is around those who are sanctified.
Time continues on. Turn to Genesis 12. Going back to Abram once again, I want to make sure that we keep reading these verses. We are going through this verse by verse so that you see all the pieces of this awesome purpose that God is working out, being worked out.
Genesis 12:1-3 Now the Lord has said to Abram; “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
That is awesome to say to one man, “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed,” because from him came the Savior. God chose Abram every bit as deliberately as He did Noah. He does this very specifically.
We are going to jump away from Abram and we want to step back in Genesis 10. What we are going to do here is see the birth line and the sanctification line of those people who filled in the gap between Noah and Abraham. God was careful to put in His Book every person or every family head that He sanctified so that we would have the line unbroken between Seth all the way to Jesus Christ.
Genesis 10:21 And children were born also to Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder.
How do we know God chose to set Shem apart either before or after the Flood? We will go forward into time until we reach a descendant of Adam and Eve that we know positively that God set apart. We know that person was Seth, until we come to another person that He has set apart, which we just read of in Genesis 12. That was Abram. Then we trace Abram's family lineage to its roots. That person in Genesis 10:21 was Seth. Now we know for sure that Abraham was of the Seth-Noah-Shem-line of descendants from Eve.
God was well aware what was going on in His purpose. He made deliberate choices among the families of people available to Him. He had a plan and it was working out.
Genesis 11:10-14 This is the genealogy of Shem: Shem was one hundred years old, and begot Arphaxad, two years after the flood. [There is the next descendant.] Arphaxad lived thirty five years, and begot Salah. [The next one] Salah lived thirty years, and begot Eber.
He is the man after whom all the Hebrew people are named.
Genesis 11:16 Eber lived thirty four years, and Peleg. [next].
Genesis 11:18 Peleg lived thirty years, and begot Reu.
These men had other children, but God does not name them. He only names the ones that continued the line from Seth, to Noah, to Shem, and beyond.
Genesis 11:20 Reu lived thirty two years, and begot Serug.
Genesis 11:22 Serug lived thirty years and begot Nahor.
Genesis 11:24 Nahor lived twenty nine years, and begot Terah.
Genesis 11:26 Now Terah lived seventy years and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
Now we are all the way to the father of the faithful that God set apart, Abram. Abram had two sons.
Genesis 17:17-19 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.
God deliberately chose Isaac, even before he was born. He even gave him the name, even though Ishmael was the elder. Isaac had twin sons. God deliberately chose Jacob even before he and Esau were born. Jacob had twelve sons. God set apart several of them: Levi, Judah, and Joseph, for special responsibilities. Why Levi? He fathered the priestly line, Judah the governing line of Israel, and Joseph was used to pave the way for his father Jacob and his family to be used for the Exodus.
You can see how far ahead God was thinking. He knew exactly what He was going to do. God's purpose was being worked out. At this point Moses becomes significant because God chose this descendant of Adam and Eve, Seth, Noah, Abraham, through Jacob, through Levi, and on to Moses. The genealogy is being worked out in a master plan. Moses was a great grandson of Levi. What did God use Moses to do? He used him to form all the descendants of Jacob into a nation.
Acts 7:22 [this is in the midst of Stephen's recitation at his trial before the Jewish authorities, he made this statement regarding Moses] “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.
God sanctified him, and He gifted him with intellectual abilities so that he was educated in all the wisdom of Egypt, as God prepared him to do what he did.
Deuteronomy 7:6 [Moses is speaking to the entire group of the children of Israel] “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.”
From what you heard today, what has He just done? He has sanctified the entire nation, not just a single person, the entire nation of Israel is now sanctified to God. This is getting awesome, it is getting bigger and bigger. Once you know what the word sanctification means, and what the word holy means, He has just sanctified not just clothing, dirt, utensils, and buildings. He has sanctified an entire nation of millions of people.