Today, we’ll continue looking at the book of Deuteronomy as we examine the biblical truths that were not only established in the Old Testament particularly with the nation of Israel, but are continued into the New Testament as well. As we showed last time, it is important to read and understand the Old Testament through the lens of the N.T. and in doing this it shows us how important the O.T. is in deepening our understanding of who God is and how He works in our lives. In reading through Deuteronomy and seeing all of the laws and statutes that the Lord had given the people, one thing continually struck me over and over, namely the parallels with His dealing and expectations of the Israelites of Moses’ day to Christians of modern day. In Deuteronomy 7:6-8 the LORD is laying the framework for the commands that He will give the Israelites. Through Moses He states:
“6 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. ”
There is quite a lot for us to digest there, but our primary focus will start in verse 6. The first point is to notice how God refers to the Israelites as “a people that are holy.” This phrase is the Hebrew word qadowsh and here in this context it doesn’t mean Holy as in perfect or blameless, like we think of God, but instead it means “set apart”; literally that the LORD has set apart Israel unto Himself. Next, we see the LORD telling the Israelites that He has chosen them as “His treasured possession” out of every nation of the earth. Now let this sink in for just a minute. God chose Israel. God did the choosing. They did not choose Him, nor could they. He did not choose other nations, nor did they even desire Him. God chose. The LORD then qualifies this statement by saying that it had nothing to do with any quality that they possessed as a people or their number or size, but instead was by His own love for them that they were chosen. Some might ask, is this fair? Was it fair of God to choose Israel to be set apart from all other nations? Why not the Philistines or the Hittites? Why not the Amorites or the Canaanites? Was this fair of God to choose Israel to receive “the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises…the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all”? (Romans 9:4-5) Absolutely! There is certainly no injustice on God’s part in doing so. God didn’t have to choose any nation to receive His blessing. He didn’t have to choose any peoples through whom to work His plan of redemption, but He did so anyway, out of His love.
These simple phrases in Deuteronomy speak to the sovereignty of God and His dealings with Israel. But are there parallels with how the Lord dealt with Israel and how He works even now among His children? As alluded to earlier there is great value in studying and understanding the Old Testament and learning who God is and how He works in our lives and next time we’ll explore how this relationship with Israel in the O.T. teaches us about our relationship with God in the N.T.