Deuteronomy 7:6-9: God Chooses You

God Chose You (610x352)God didn’t inspire the Old Testament so we could dare to be like Daniel, become a manly man like Moses, or lead like Joshua. Of course, when we see how those saints of old experienced God’s grace and how He strengthened them in faith that also encourages us (AC 21). But if we only see Scripture as a book of instruction, “basic instructions before leaving earth” as some call the Bible, then we miss the point.

The Word of God, Jesus Christ, became human so we may trust in the one, true God. And the written Word of God came into being to point us to THE Word of God, Jesus Christ. That’s the point of all Scripture (John 5:39). It all points to Jesus.

The Scriptures don’t teach us how to become holy–as if we could achieve that by the strength of our will! No, the Scriptures show us that our holiness comes from the Lord, who alone is holy. And neither do the Scriptures teach us how to redeem ourselves, as if we could do that by simply by learning how! Instead, the Scriptures tell us how Jesus has redeemed us.

The Bible doesn’t try to persuade you to choose God. But it does assure you that God has chosen you, even as Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16).   And neither is Scripture all about you making promises to God but, instead, trusting in His promises for you.

In today’s Old-Testament reading, Moses told the Israelites, who were ready to enter the Promised Land: “You are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 7:6). God’s Old-Covenant people gathered to hear Moses for the last time, for Moses wouldn’t be entering the Promised Land. Joshua would lead God’s people into the Promised Land after Moses died.

But, before they went in, Moses would preach God’s Word into their ears one more time. So, Moses proclaimed who God was and who the Israelites were because of God. The Lord led them out of Egypt. They were His people. He redeemed and rescued them. He was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God had chosen them to be His special people, and they were His treasured possession. And at Mt. Sinai, God had given them the Old Covenant, and so they were blessed.

Moses proclaimed the deeds that God had done to redeem His people from bondage. Moses had spoken of God’s miraculous signs. He recalled the Covenant that God had given to them at Mt. Sinai. Moses not only preached who God was and what He had done, but also what He would do to continue to redeem and sanctify them.

Moses also spoke of God’s promised Messiah to come. Moses preached in Deuteronomy 18:15: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me–a fellow Israelite. You must listen to him.” Moses repeated the promise that God gave to Eve, Noah, and Abraham. God will not abandon us to our sins. He will send a prophet like Moses, but greater, one who would crush the serpent’s head, one through whom all the nations of the world would be blessed.

In the book of Acts, chapter three, the Apostle Peter quoted Deuteronomy 18:15 to show that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah, whom Israel had rejected and put to death, but whom God raised on the third day. And then in Acts, chapter seven, Stephen also quoted Deuteronomy 18:15, showing that Jesus fulfilled that passage by being the Prophet whom God brought forth from the people of Israel.

As believers in the long-promised Messiah, we are holy to the Lord. We are His treasured possession. In Christ, we are loved, redeemed, and blessed. We have been given the New Covenant in Christ’s blood–His holy Supper! That means we are members of the body of Christ. And in Him, we find our true identity, not in ourselves.

Those are such truths that God’s written Word reveals to us: Because of Jesus Christ, we are God’s holy, chosen, and redeemed people. It’s all by God’s grace; it’s all His doing. And by faith, we trust and cling to those truths and promises of our faithful God. By grace, we belong to Him. And such grace is a gift of God, and all gifts are free. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be gifts.

For those of you who are grandparents, think about your role as a grandparent. Don’t grandparents love to give gifts to their grandchildren? Whether it’s money or toys, they love to give to their grandchildren. That’s what grandparents do (but usually more so the grandmother). They give gifts.

But such receiving of gifts also has a dark side. For in such gift receiving, we also learn how quickly our sinful heart reveals itself. What happens when we see grandma, and she doesn’t bring us any presents? We pout and feel cheated. We think we deserve those gifts. And we become angry and may even pitch a hissy fit.

If you feel that God owes you like a petulant grandchild, repent! For if you think that, you are then asking God to judge you based on your righteousness, based on what He owes you because of what you have done or how you may have lived. God’s grace and a humble heart go together. Grace is God shining His favor on you. And God doesn’t favor you because you deserve it. He favors you because of His Son, Jesus, and what He did and does to save you.

When we have humility deeply rooted within our hearts, we are at rest, knowing that God showers us with His grace because of Jesus. But when we become arrogant and prideful, we expect and even demand God’s favor. That’s when we feel that we deserve to be served. God, I’ve been playing by your rules all this time, and this is what You let happen to me?! We blame God for what sin has brought into our lives. Sinful pride breeds an arrogant self-righteousness.

To understand grace, Moses revealed who we are by nature. Moses preached, “It is not because you outnumbered all the other peoples that the Lord favored and chose you” (Deuteronomy 7:7). The Lord doesn’t choose based on someone’s worthiness. He didn’t choose you because you are greater, smarter, or better than others. He chooses you solely by grace, not because you deserve it, but because He is merciful.

Later in Deuteronomy, Moses told the Israelites that being in God’s Covenant had nothing to do with their own righteousness. He said: “It’s not because of your righteousness, or even the virtue in your heart that you are going in to take possession of their land” (Deuteronomy 9:5). God didn’t choose the Israelites because of their own righteousness. Blessings come from the Lord by grace. The Lord was showing His faithfulness to the promise He had given to Eve, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

And what Moses said about God choosing someone still applies to us today. For what Moses said about God’s grace stemmed from who God is in His nature. And who God is doesn’t change whether one is in the Old Covenant or the New.

Moses reminded the people about their simmering rebellion against God, which sometimes flared up into a full-blown fire. They were stubborn and refused to be taught, thinking they knew it all.

And so, because of their sin, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. They wanted to worship God their way instead of His way, through a sculpture of a false Egyptian God, a golden calf. And Moses also warned them not to fall for the false gods in the land where they would soon live. If they did, they would be destroyed, just as the unbelievers.

And yet, God revealed to Moses that the people of Israel would turn away from Him and follow false gods, bringing death and ruin on themselves.   And so, Moses gave the people a song to sing, teaching them about the faithful acts of God and the often-faithless deeds of the people. That song is in Deuteronomy, chapter 32.

And so the Israelites sang such lines as, “They have provoked me [that is, God] with their so-called gods and angered me with their worthless idols” (Deuteronomy 32:21). And again: “I will bring one disaster after another on them and spend my arrows against them. They will be weak from hunger, ravaged by pestilence, and bitterly stung” (Deuteronomy 32:23-24).

The Israelites were to learn that song, so their hearts wouldn’t become dull. They were to teach that song to their children, helping them to understand their sin–all so they wouldn’t turn from God, bringing ruin on themselves.

The real destruction and judgment of unbelievers is not what may happen here in this world. For in this world, unbelievers often have an easier go of life than believers do. No, the final judgment is what unbelievers will experience in eternity: The wages of their sins. Hell is an eternity based on your righteousness instead of Christ’s righteousness. You experience eternity as if on fire instead of being a child of Light.

The Apostle Paul told us that we should learn from Israel’s mistakes, “so we won’t set our hearts on evil as they did” (1 Corinthians 10:6). We have the same fallen nature as the Israelites of old. But, like them, our salvation is also because of Christ.

God has chosen you in Christ, not because of your righteousness, but because of His righteousness. In Him, you are holy, because He is holy. You are part of His people, because “the entire fullness of God’s nature lives in Christ’s body” (Colossians 2:9).

Jesus has redeemed you–and so you are the redeemed. “You are a holy people belonging to the Lord, your God. He has chosen you to be his people, his treasured possession, above all others on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6). God alone is holy and righteous, and He alone saves. And when you are in Christ Jesus, He is your righteousness and salvation. Amen.