Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Special People

Deuteronomy 4:32-40

“For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?  Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?  Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 

Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.  Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he showed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.  And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt; To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day. ” (Deuteronomy 4:32-38) 

Israel had been and was blessed in a way no other nation had been blessed, with God taking them as his special people, miraculously setting them up their own kingdom, revealing himself in various ways and demonstrating his power on their behalf in a way he had never done for any other group.   They were chosen because of their forefathers relationship with God, and not because they were better or more faithful than others.

Ezekiel 36:22-23 explains why God has chosen to act on Israel’s part.  “Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.  And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.”  

Deuteronomy 4:5-6 describes the impact obedience will have on other nations.  "Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people."

I Peter 2:9-10 makes a similar statement about those who have believed in Christ.  “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”  When they allow God to have his way in their lives they witness to his greatness according to Acts 1:8.  “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  The Christian’s purpose here on earth is to demonstrate God’s power and love to the world around us, just as the Jews were to.  It can only happen when we live in such a way that the world can see his action in our lives.

“Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.  Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.” (Deuteronomy 4:39-40)

If Israel would recognize God as God and keep his commandments, they would be blessed above all nations, with long healthy lives, and retain their power and freedom throughout the generations to come.

In John 14:21 Jesus promised that he would reveal himself to those who obeyed him.  “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.”   Luke 11:28 promises that those who keep his word will blessed.  “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”  Our obedience is the primary reason for his answering our prayers according to I John 3:22.  “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”  Failure to obey produces chastisement and loss of fellowship instead according to Hebrews 12:6-8.

“Then Moses severed three cities on this side Jordan toward the sun rising; That the slayer might flee thither, which should kill his neighbour unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that fleeing unto one of these cities he might live: Namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, of the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites.” (Deuteronomy 4:41-43) 

Moses identified three cities of refuge on the east side of Jordan where those who accidentally killed some one could flee for protection as specified by the Law.  The three on the west would not be established until the rest of the land was taken.

“And this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel: These are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spake unto the children of Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt, On this side Jordan, in the valley over against Bethpeor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel smote, after they were come forth out of Egypt: And they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan, two kings of the Amorites, which were on this side Jordan toward the sun rising; From Aroer, which is by the bank of the river Arnon, even unto mount Sion, which is Hermon, And all the plain on this side Jordan eastward, even unto the sea of the plain, under the springs of Pisgah.” (Deuteronomy 4:44-40)

No comments:

Post a Comment