Bread – Heritage

January 11, 2017

Psalm 47

He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom He loves.  Selah.”  Ps. 47:4

This is one of those passages which comes at the end of a quartet of verses and one is inclined to just race through.  But out of the clear blue sky comes the word “Selah,” which suggests that we stop and think about what we have just read.

What is “our heritage?”  What is the “pride of Jacob?”

It is very easy to read this and, given its Old Testament context, come quickly to the conclusion that the Psalmist is talking about Israel (the Jewish nation) and the land promise (our heritage, the land).  And if the Psalmist were writing without the inspiration of God, perhaps this would be all that it meant because that is all the Psalmist would know.

But I think the meaning goes much deeper, because in this single sentence we are talking about God’s sovereignty, His choice over who is awakened to the truth of the gospel and who remains blind to it, dead in their sins.

Jacob was the brother who “bought” his brother Esau’s birthright for a bowl of soup and then tricked his father into giving him the blessing belonging to the older son (Esau).  Just in case we miss the point, Paul in Romans drives it home – “…in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of Him who calls – she [Rebekah] was told , ‘The older will serve the younger.’  As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’  What shall we say then?  Is there injustice on God’s part?  By no means!  For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy….So then He has mercy on whomever He wills, and He hardens whomever He wills.”  Rom. 9:11-18

So who is the “pride of Jacob?”  I would suggest that the “pride of Jacob” are those people on whom God has chosen to have mercy.  Who are those people?  They are Jew and Gentile, from all nations and tribes, chosen by God for eternal life with Him.  They are those who have had the veil lifted from their eyes and see Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, as the Son of God, and not some mere prophet or good man or teacher or wise one.

“He chose our heritage for us?”  What is our “heritage?”  This is actually an interesting question, because it forces us to look outward rather than inward.  We normally would ask the question this way – “What is our inheritance?” And we would answer the question this way – “our inheritance is eternal life.”  But the question of what is our “heritage” is a question about what we leave behind, about what we give away and not what we get.

When we were adopted as children of God into the kingdom of God by the sovereign exercise of mercy by a loving God, we were given a job to do.  And that job is expressed in many ways – be an ambassador of the kingdom, be light in a dark place, be joyful in all circumstances, do good works which bring glory to God, live lives worthy of the King.  But it is really this – leave behind a footprint, not of personal worth or exalted achievement, but of a vision of Christ, of glory.

What is “our heritage” chosen for us – a beacon of hope, a pronouncement of truth and love, and exercise of grace, a revealing of glory, an example of discipleship and holiness.

What are we leaving behind?  Will the people who know us know the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?

What heritage are we leaving?


© 2017 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.




Bread – Legacies

November 13, 2013

Readings for Wednesday, November 13, 2013, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Neh. 7:3b-8:3-18; Rev. 18:21-24; Matt. 15:29-39; Psalms 81,82,119:97-120


Today’s readings are sort of strange and disconnected. In Nehemiah, we have the reading of the law and the reinstitution of the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles). In Revelation, we have a commentary on the death of a society driven by money rather than by God. In Matthew we have Jesus feeding the four thousand, after having shown the crowd that He is the One who causes the mute to speak, the crippled to come to health, the lame to walk, and the blind to see. In and of themselves, each reading is not strange, but it is strange that they appear so disconnected, because usually there is a common thread.

But prior to the reading of the law in Nehemiah, there are a number of verses dedicated to a census of those who are participating in the Lord’s miracle. For example, “..the sons of Parosh, 2,172…” (Neh. 7:8).

I was impressed with the number of “sons” allocated to Parosh and realized that I was looking at his legacy. Out of his obedience to the Lord, his dedication to his work, his devotion (whatever it was) to maintaining God’s law, he now had 2,172 people (or more) who could be counted among those whom the Lord restored to Jerusalem, to the law, and to the seasons of celebration (one of which is the Feast of Booths).

And it made me think about my legacy. When I reach heaven, will I be able to look out at legacy of 2,172 who are in the New Jerusalem because of me? Will I?

I was at a meeting on Tuesday discussing major philanthropy. It is gifts of many millions of dollars that put names on buildings or scholarships or whatever. Many people consider that their legacy. Some consider their legacy to be children. Some consider their legacy to be their work, their writing, their craftsmanship, their family. But isn’t our real legacy as Christians the number of people who are counted, just as Parosh’s were, as part of the gathering of God’s people?

So, what will your legacy be? “…the sons of X, 2…” or “…the sons of X, 2,000…”?


© 2013 GBF

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