Prophecy Study 19
Definition: 1. strange; odd. 2. uncommon; unusual: 3. distinctive in nature or character from others. 4. belonging characteristically (peculiar group of people). 5. belonging exclusively to some person, group, or thing.
The redheaded Grace Hester Gilbert was born on February 2nd in 1876 on a small farm near Nettle Lake, Ohio. She was the youngest of four children and the only one in the family to be born covered in a layer of silken hair. By the time she was 18 she was being exhibited full-time as a bearded lady.
She signed her first contract with Ringling Bros. Circus in 1901. At the time her beard measured more than 18 inches in length, which was several inches longer than her closest rival and longer than the known record. Before long, Barnum and Baily stole Grace Gilbert away from Ringling Bros to replace the deceased Annie Jones and the arrangement proved to be lucrative.
I would say that Grace Hester Gilbert was peculiar!
In this study, we will continue to explore God’s people as being “peculiar” in this sinful world. What does it mean to you to be peculiar?
Deuteronomy 14:2; “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.”
Titus 2:14; “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
1 Peter 2:9; “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
God identifies His own people as a “peculiar people”, but what does this mean? In both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible they mean, “that which is one’s own, belonging to one’s possessions; a people selected by God from the other nations for His own possession”.
It is a struggle to comprehend this. “A holy people.” “Above all nations.” “Zealous of good works.” “A royal priesthood.”
We live in a world which thinks that the Bible changes with the times. God expects less of us in the New Testament and is much kinder. God says in Malachi 3:6, “For I am the LORD, I change not …”.
God is the same today as at any other time. His intent has not changed and His purpose for His people has not changed. It is up to us to make sure we truly understand exactly what our Lord is saying in any given part of His Word. I do need to make clear that if you are not a child of God, you cannot understand His Word since it is foolishness to you, but the Holy Spirit does reveal His Word to those who are truly His children.
1 Corinthians 1:18; “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:10; “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
Proverbs1:2-7; “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Therefore we still as Christians must study God’s word before the Holy Spirit can reveal what He wants us to know.
2 Timothy 2:15; “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Being Peculiar, means standing out as different.
Being different will mean persecution. It is no wonder that many of us from time to time are far from peculiar and fit right in with the world.
“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
6 “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”
11 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
To the world, some of these things seems strange and not politically correct.
John 15:14, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
There is a selfish element that must die to be called the children of God.
What other things can you think of that sounds crazy to the non-Christian?
Matthew 5:39-45; “39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Turn the other cheek? Give my cloak also? These are hard things to hear and understand. The Bible says to love your enemies. Is this possible? It is not only possible, but it is a requirement. “..pray for them that despitefully use you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” In other words, for you to be a child of God, you are required to love your enemies, turn the other cheek and give your cloak also.
What else does the Bible command of God’s people that would make them peculiar?
What about Exodus 20:8-11; “8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Or even Exodus 20:16-17; “16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.
Consider the story of Jonah. This is an interesting story of a servant of God, a prophet who was sent on a mission. God’s only requirement was obedience. God never changes. Moses, Elijah, the disciples, you and me. God wants a peculiar people that obey and put Him first.
In our day to day lives, do we ask what Gods wants us to do today? Do we ask God to allow us to be a blessing to someone today. Do we ask that His Holy Spirit would guide us in all things so that we stand out as His! Obedient! Obedience is foolishness to the world but precious in His sight.
1 Corinthians 7:22-23; “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
Matthew 6:31-33; “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
How can this be lived practically? Even Elijah took matters into his own hands and fled, hiding in a cave after God demonstrated His mighty work before him at Mount Carmel. The temptation is there to rely on our own understanding. How can we practically seek the kingdom of Heaven and TRUST that everything else will be supplied? What does it even mean? Peculiar is one thing, but this is just plain dangerous!
Jesus wants an obedient people. John 14:15, “if you love me, keep my commandments.”
John 15:10, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”
John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
Hebrews 4:9-11, “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”
1 John 2:3-5, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”
Let us strive to know God. To really know God is to love Him. and if we love Him, we must do whatever He commands us to do. This may not be popular. It may make you a minority of religious people. It will make you peculiar and bring upon you persecution. He has done it all for us; we just have to be obedient to His will.