So You Think You're Special!
Loving, Heavenly Father, I’m grateful that, despite my sin and failings, I’m so very, very special to You.
Read DEUTERONOMY 7:7-26
 The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.  But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.  Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.  But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him.  Therefore, take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today.  If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your forefathers.  He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land-your grain, new wine and oil-the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land that he swore to your forefathers to give you.  You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor any of your livestock without young.  The LORD will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all who hate you.  You must destroy all the peoples the LORD your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.  You may say to yourselves, “These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?”  But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.  You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear.  Moreover, the LORD your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished.  Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God.  The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.  But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed.  He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them.  The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the LORD your God.  Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Utterly abhor and detest it, for it is set apart for destruction. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat do we learn about the character of God here?
This passage is all about Israel and their special status before God. Deuteronomy is a retelling of the Law by Moses as Israel stands poised to enter the Promised Land (1:1-8). Moses wants them to clearly understand who they are and the terms of their relationship with God. Moses punctures any sense of being special because of any merits of their own. God initiated the relationship and it all depends upon him—all their special qualities relate to being chosen by God (7-9). Privilege and status frequently encourage people to think that they’re better than others in some way; it’s easy to dismiss them as inferior or unworthy. Knowing that privilege and choosing (often called “election”) come from God makes it even easier.
The special relationship, however, is conditional: only if Israel sticks close to God will God continue to bless them (11-15). Privilege and responsibility are two sides of the same coin (16-26) and God makes Israel responsible for maintaining radical discipleship. See all the rigorous steps they must take to maintain their special relationship with God. He is faithful, but will they be?
How do these verses, and the lessons in them, impact your own sense of what it means to be a disciple?
Lord, I know You are faithful to Your Word to me. Help me to be just as faithful to You.
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