Pastor’s Note: The Presumption of Favoritism

Have you ever tried to summarize a passage of scripture in your own words? It can be difficult! How does each verse fit with the ones around it? What is the flow of the writer’s argument? Sometimes it helps to write it out…

 

In Deuteronomy 10:12-22, Moses summarizes the commands of God in the law. A paraphrased summary might look like this:

His requirements are that you fear him, follow him, love him, serve him and keep his commands. They are for your good. Don’t question God’s authority on this. The entire world belongs to him! Therefore recognize just how particular his love is for you, that in all the world, he chose you. Based on that unique love, and grounded in his awesome authority, he commands you: Pledge your allegiance to him at the heart level. Renew your commitment to him in a way that truly matters. Stop resisting his guidance. Stop being so stubborn.

Again, God is the supreme authority! And he isn’t budging on his requirements of you. His particular love for you doesn’t mean that you get a free pass on true discipleship. He is impartial in judging humanity. We see this because of the way he cares for those who have nothing to offer, namely the orphan, widow and refugee. And you should especially love and care for the refugee, because once you yourselves were refugees.

So remember: fear God, serve him, cling to him and revere him. He is worth celebrating. You witnessed the miracles he did in Egypt and in the desert. And he has multiplied your number just as he had promised Abraham.

 

What a powerful message! Our Father’s special love for his people is unparalleled. But God also knew the limitations of Israel. He knew their selfishness. And so even though he would not lower the requirements for their obedience, he did know what it would take to truly transform his people. So he grounds the call of Deuteronomy 10 in his own promise in Deuteronomy 30. His promise is that after his people have tried to live faithfully yet rebel and experience the judgment they deserve based on their covenant, Moses says, “The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.

In the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has transformed the hearts of his people by grace through faith. May we love God and love others, especially the vulnerable.