Righteous Lord, You are merciful, but in Your holiness, You are also just. I praise You for all You are.
Read Deuteronomy 7:1-26
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“My song is love unknown, my Savior’s love to me; love to the loveless shown, that they might lovely be” (S. Crossman).
As a single jewel becomes more brilliant when surrounded by contrasting stones, so here the wonder of God’s loving choice and blessing (6-15) is surrounded by commands to destroy (1-5,16-26). The central jewel is a delight even today, but what surrounds goes against modern sensitivities.
The people are reminded that they are “holy,” set apart for God’s purpose. While all the earth is his, God has “chosen you. . . to be his people, his treasured possession” (6; also Exod. 19:5,6; 1 Pet. 2:9,10). The word “treasure,” McConville writes, “refers elsewhere to a king’s private fortune” (1 Chron. 29:3; Eccl. 2:8) and outside Israel “describe[s] the king as the special possession of the god.” The people may look at the more numerous, powerful and wealthy nations around–Israel was the “fewest of all peoples” (7)–and ask why God chose them. The answer is God’s “love” and “affection” (6-8). As elsewhere throughout Scripture, God chooses people deemed unlikely and insignificant, a message that still runs counter to a power-glorifying and celebrity-saturated culture (1 Cor. 1:26-31).
How are God’s people to remain distinctive, belonging to him alone? The wiping out of the Canaanites is too complex an issue for this brief commentary! Here the attention is on God’s people. They are not to be overawed but to move forward (17-24), though in the long term there is danger that “you” will divert from worshipping the Lord alone (4,25). The warning is because the attractiveness of idolatry in all its forms and associated lifestyle is real. Contexts and safeguard solutions today may be different, but the warnings are still relevant! It is all the more reason to have central in one’s sight the contrasting bright jewel of the wonder and beauty of what God has done and wants to do with “his people,” committed solely to him and his mission.
What things of the culture around us are diverting you? Be purposeful to cut off from these things and center yourself again on Christ and the glories of God’s love and grace.
Holy God, You have called us to be a people set apart so that we can be Your own special people and a light to the world around us. May my heart burn for this as Yours does.
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