Israel was elected by God to bear his name in the world. Everywhere they went, they were to be a representation of who God is, what he’s like, and how the people under him should live, govern, speak and act. Israelites we’re literally born as the elect, chosen people of God and his salvation.
Except they didn’t all get it right. Instead, they constantly “strived with God” (as the name Israel translates). They were born elect, but plenty of them did not live out their election. God eventually turned them over to exile, promising to come back for a “remnant” of them—the true elect among the elect—the ones who actually loved him and followed him.
While the exile was a major remnant movement in history, it seems like remnant seasons come and go in minor and major ways throughout the Bible and history. The pandemic, for example, feels much like a modern remnant season. Pastors have seen a lot of people fall away from the church, leaving a small remnant of deeply committed people. Such seasons are painful, but also important. As Elaine A. Heath said back in 2008 in her book, The Mystic Way of Evangelism,
“Contrary to being a disaster, the exilic experience of loss and marginalization are what are needed to restore the church to it’s evangelistic place. On the margins of society the church will once again find its God-given voice to speak to the dominant culture in subversive ways, resisting the powers and principalities, standing against the seduction of the status quo. The church will once again become a prophetic, evangelistic, alternative community offering to the world a model of life that is radically “other,” life-giving, loving, healing, liberating.”Elaine A. Heath, The Mystic Way of Evangelism, page 26.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Romans 11:1-12 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net. Below are the various AI-created pictures I typed into existence via Mid Journey to mock up artwork for today’s post.