”For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”
Deuteronomy 7: 6
Deuteronomy 7-9 (Psalm 55)
Moses is presenting the covenant to the people and preparing them for the Promised Land. The directions for removing the people of the nations are harsh to say the least and are difficult to equate with the God of love the Bible teaches and we know. I think the answer in part is Israel’s tendency for waywardness and the godless, warring context they live in. God’s people were to be holy, set apart, and a light to those around to show that there is another way. If they absorbed the culture, ways and gods of the other nations not only would they lose their way but the other nations would also not know salvation.
We do, also read, of the God of love who is working tirelessly for His creation. In relation to His people Moses describes how God has: set His affection on them; chosen and loved them; redeemed them; blessed them and will bless them with health, provision and life; and all within a covenant relationship. The people, for their part, were to: keep His commands; follow His ways; serve Him alone, not other gods; trust Him, not fear; and to praise Him.
In many ways these chapters display the seriousness of our sin and the utter holiness of God. His love is very real; He is love. However, as we considered on Sunday, justice needs to be satisfied. God has made this possible for us in and through Jesus Christ who has paid our price for us and intercedes on our behalf. God has set His affection on us and has made redemption possible. We are called, as the people of Israel, to follow His ways and trust Him. As His people, the Church, we are to be counter cultural and not absorb the ways of the world into our lives; we are to be His beacon to show the light of Christ to a world that so desperately needs Him.
A Question of Application
In what ways do you think your Church and you have allowed worldly values and culture take you away from God’s truth; what should you do about this?
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are yet without sin: give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit; and, as you know our weakness, so may we know your power to save; through Jesus Christ your Son and our Lord. Amen
Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) by Hillsong Worship
The Kingdom of God is Justice and Joy
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.