Psalms 73:11-12… 18-20 (HCSB)
The wicked say, “How can God know?
Does the Most High know everything?”
Look at them — the wicked!
They are always at ease,
and they increase their wealth…
Indeed, You put them in slippery places;
You make them fall into ruin.
How suddenly they become a desolation!
They come to an end, swept away by terrors.
Like one waking from a dream,
Lord, when arising, You will despise their image.
Have you ever really considered what it means to “image” God?
God is not very fond of the image that the wicked display. In other words, those who challenge what God knows and who are solely focused on building their own well-being, such leads God to despise what their lives reflect and exemplify. Their fate then is “ruin,” “desolation,” “end,” …being “swept away by terrors.” Since the image that we display is so important to God, maybe we should consider what that means exactly? After all, we were made in His image…
Genesis 1:27-28 (HCSB)
So God created man in His own image;
He created him in the image of God;
He created them male and female.
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”
When Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, he explained to them that…
Romans 8:28-29 (HCSB)
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.
This seems to hint at the fact that we (believers) do not necessarily image God from the get go. Paul is teaching fellow Christians that their imaging of Christ (God) is a process, and not a default state. In other words, they are developing into or becoming what they were predestined to be… the “image of His Son.”
Back at the time of the “Exodus,” God told Moses the following with regards to His people…
Exodus 19:3-6 (HCSB)
Moses went up the mountain to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain: “This is what you must say to the house of Jacob, and explain to the Israelites: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me. Now if you will listen to Me and carefully keep My covenant, you will be My own possession out of all the peoples, although all the earth is Mine, and you will be My kingdom of priests and My holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.”
God’s people are those who exemplify, represent, or image God (if you will) as a “priest.” That is exactly what a priest does. However, a person does not just become a priest overnight. The prerequisite for becoming a priest of Yahweh requires two things…
1) “listen to Me”
2) “carefully keep My covenant”
Listening to God (in the Hebrew sense) means applying what was heard in order to build a god-like character, and then living it out daily; learning how to carefully keep God’s covenant for a lifetime.
What happens when such is done?
…you will be My own possession out of all the peoples…
In other words, such a person then becomes a priest (someone whose image God does not despise).
This is why Peter encouraged believers with the following exhortation…
1 Peter 2:9-10 (HCSB)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for His possession,
so that you may proclaim the praises,
of the One who called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light.
Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.
As part of the final vision that John received, he watched and heard the 24 elders sing a new song. Part of that song included…
Revelation 5:10 (HCSB)
You made them a kingdom
and priests to our God,
and they will reign on the earth.
These lyrics tie everything together from Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, Romans, and 1 Peter. What it means to image God is brought into its fullest definition when we understand what it means to be a priest. Human beings were made in God’s image. They were made rule and reign on the earth as representatives of Him, in all that is said and done by them.
…They were made to be priests.
Sadly, for those who are not priests, what awaits them is ruin, desolation, end, and being swept away by terrors. In other words, their image is despised by God. It is why we must share the Gospel, so that they who hear might desire to listen to Him and keep His covenant, so that they might become, “My own possession out of all the peoples,” as we believers now are…
Revelation 1:5b-6 (HCSB)
…To Him who loves us and has set us free from our sins by His blood, and made us a kingdom, priests, to His God and Father — the glory and dominion are His forever and ever. Amen.
Godspeed, to the brethren!