In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses wrote an exciting recap for the Jewish people of all that God did throughout their journey from bondage in Egypt until they prepared to enter the Promised Land. Every time I read this awesome book, I realize again how much God loves people–especially His chosen people, Israel. (Deuteronomy 7: 6-9)
Time after time God gave the Hebrews grace. He repeatedly assured them that He was for them, not against them. He gave them commandments, rules, and laws to keep them safe and on the right, righteous track. So they were worthy to enter into His presence, He gave them detailed, specific instructions on how to make acceptable sacrifices assuring His blessing, favor, and forgiveness. (Deuteronomy 6:24) These procedures were often rigorous, time consuming, and inconvenient; but, God’s purpose was to gain their love, allegiance, and obedience.
If you read very far into any of the first five books of the Old Testament, you will see some very severe responses from God towards these people He still loves so much. (Deuteronomy 6:12, 15) This has been a point of contention for many people. They wonder, “How can a loving God bring such swift and terrible destruction upon those He professes to love so greatly?” Looking closely, you will see that these responses involved people who were disobedient, rebellious, and arrogant against the boundaries He set. Their behavior and state of mind threatened to eventually turn the whole Jewish nation away from God. He warned them that forgetting Him would bring curses and death. Since God always means what He says, He made every attempt to nip their dangerous mind-set in the bud. He didn’t want to unleash His wrath upon the very people He loved so much. (Deuteronomy 7:6) He chose to instill a healthy fear of God into them because of the high stakes. Nonetheless, they failed the test and suffered separation from our loving God.
Now, fast-forward a few thousand years, and consider Jesus’ life–often filled with “hate mail,” threats, and physical abuse. He wasn’t motivated to go through all that by His own desires. (Matthew 26:39) Jesus was showing His love, allegiance, and obedience to Almighty God, who longed for relationship once again with His chosen people, including you and me. Even though they were, and we are, a group of headstrong, stubborn, and rebellious people, God made a way for reconciliation by sending His only Son to make that final sacrifice–once and for all. (Hebrews 10:10)
Have you accepted Jesus as God’s only Son? Do you believe He died on the cross to pay the price for mankind’s sin? Have you asked for His forgiveness of your sin? Do you believe He rose again to life after His death and now sits as Lord to rule and reign? If so, you have been grafted into the elect family of God (Romans 11:19) and offered all the same benefits and blessings. You are now one of God’s chosen ones upon whom His great favor rests.
How has God moved in your life to show you, personally, that you are part of His family?