You are a chosen race!
This is a reflection based on the book of Deuteronomy from the series, Reading Christ in the Torah. Deuteronomy is the last book in the series. In case you missed out on the other studies, you can find them below:
Deuteronomy is the last of the five books we have in the Torah. This is the Hebrew way of calling the first five books, which means Pentateuch in Greek.
Throughout the Torah Moses was reminding the people of Israel that they are a chosen Race.
It is the message that also comes up in the book of Deuteronomy.
And this message is for all believers, including you and I.
Looking at the book of Deuteronomy, we could divide it into three major parts:
Remember how far you’ve come
Moses reminds the people of where they have come from as well as where they are now. He talks to them about times when:
- God asked them to keep moving forward to the promised land God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (1: 6-8).
- How Moses organized them into groups of tens, hundreds, thousands to allow better attention to everyone’s needs (1: 9-18).
- Israel’s refusal to enter the land and the consequences they had to face (1: 19-44).
In this section of the book, Moses strongly commends obedience to all (see chapter 4).
God and His covenant He’s made with you
God’s covenant with the people of Israel, according to Deuteronomy, was made through the giving of the Ten Commandments (5: 6-21) and the Shema (6: 4-6).
The Ten Commandments are not limiting the people’s freedom. Instead, they help people be free to love and serve God.
God’s commandments also help people reclaim their identity as children of God.
The Shema is the Hebrew word for this text in Deuteronomy 6: 4-5 (ESV),
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
This is God’s commandment Moses gave the people of Israel, which Jesus refers to as the greatest commandment (Matthew 22: 37,38; Mark 12: 29,30; Luke 10: 27).
One thing Moses reminded the people of Israel in Deuteronomy is that God’s covenant has made them a chosen people (chapter 7). He was clear though that being a chosen people was not because of their own choosing (7: 7-11). That was however the oath God had made with their ancestors (7: 7-11).
How to live in a manner that’s pleasing to God in a new land
Living in this new land will closely depend on how the people of Israel would have to keep their covenant with God.
The only way to do it is by obeying God.
Since they had the Ten Commandments and the Shema, they had all what they needed to remain faithful to God.
Doing so is what makes them stand out as a chosen people.
Because of being a chosen people, the Israelites had some responsibility to assume:
- They did not have to forget God in times of posterity (chapter 8). They should not rebel against God (chapter 9). They had to destroy all pagan shrines (12: 1-12).
- They were to have a place of worship (12: 13-28). They did not have to worship idols (12: 29-32). They should not embrace any pagan way of life (14: 14-1,2).
- They had to be clean (what to eat and not to) and celebrate festivals (chapter 16).
- They received ways on how to be in times of warfare (chapter 20). They also received laws on how to handle relationships (chapters 24 and 25).
One important thing Moses mentioned in the book is that God would raise a prophet like him. Everyone should listen to him. Anyone who does not listen to the words of the prophet, speaking in God’s name, God Himself will hold them accountable (18: 15-19).
This prophecy of Moses has been looked at as a Messianic prophecy for the Israelites (John 6: 14) as well as the Apostles in the early Christian Church (Acts 3: 22, 23; 7:37).
Here’s what the book of Deuteronomy means for us today
First, at the core of the book of Deuteronomy you hear this phrase: “You are a Chosen Race.”
This is God’s Word for the People of Israel before they even came to be. When God called Abraham, it was not because Abraham was a perfect guy. It was because, when he heard God’s voice, he chose to obey.
God said to Abraham that “in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22: 18, ESV).
That made the people of Israel a chosen race until now.
But, when Jesus Christ came, anyone who believes in Him now, can also join this chosen race.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2: 9, ESV).
Next, just as the Book of Deuteronomy is reminding the people of Israel of God’s covenant, which made them a chosen race, so it reminds you and me today that we also are a chosen race by faith through Jesus Christ.
The other thing the Book of Deuteronomy is about is that being chosen comes with some responsibility, which is grounded into a genuine loving obedience to an ever Loving God.
What Deuteronomy lists as marks of being a chosen race, and which will bless people around us are as follows:
- Stay in Love with God all the time: bad or good.
- Get rid of anything that isn’t giving glory to God.
- Have fun.
- Handle conflict in a way that’s pleasing to God.
- Honor relationships.
Lastly, the book of Deuteronomy is about getting ready to possess the land. This may mean something you’ve been looking forward to or a new season in life. This land could also be a new opportunity, a challenge, a conflict, a new relationship, an illness, a loss, and the list goes on.
But, remember your life is about boldly walking into what God has in mind for you. And, it only happens when you let God be God through a complete devotion and full obedience to His Word.
Click below to listen to the Audio sermon on which this post is based.