The nation of Israel was a chosen people. Moses told them, “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deut. 14:2). Many make the mistake of thinking that this was the equivalent of being saved. However, such was not the case. They were told, “And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes which I command thee this day for thy good” (Deut. 10:12-13). Though they were chosen by God, they still had a choice of how they lived and of whether they were blessed or cursed. Again the words of Moses, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God…” (Deut. 11:26-28).
Though being God’s chosen people did not guarantee them eternal salvation, just imagine the many blessings that were provided as a result of their being chosen. Because they were His chosen people, His ears were open to their prayers. Isaiah wrote, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear…” (Isa. 59:1). As the Lord’s chosen, they received protection.
Moses wrote, “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace” (Exo. 14:14). And don’t forget, as the chosen of God, He revealed His covenant to them. “The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day” (Deut. 5:2-3). What a wonderful blessing it must have been to have been called by God, His chosen people. How wonderful to have access to such wonderful blessings. Would we not all wish today that we too, were so blessed? We can be!
In this Christian age, the church is the chosen of God. The Jews were physically born into the Jewish nation, but one is “born again” into the Christian nation or kingdom. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Peter wrote, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (I Pet. 1:23). The church is spiritual Israel rather than physical Israel.
Paul wrote, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom. 2:28-29). Christianity was for all people, that both Jew and Gentile alike would have access to the same blessings of God. Paul wrote, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were afar off are made night by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us…And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby” (Eph. 2:13-14, 16).
Peter wrote, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people…” (I Pet. 2:9). So, what about our blessings? Do we now have those special blessings?
The apostle John wrote, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…” (I John 3:1). Once in the family of God, we too can have His ear when we pray. “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (I Pet. 3:12). He provides us with protection.
Paul wrote, “There hath no temptation taken you but such is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I Cor. 10:13).
Jesus promised, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. What about a revealed covenant? “The gospel is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17).
So with all this being true, we too should ask the question that we started with, “What doth the Lord thy God require of thee?” The answer is the same as it was to Israel of old. “To fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statues…” (Deut. 10:12-13). The specifics of the law we are under are different that those of the old Law of Moses, but love, respect and reverence of God and diligent adherence to the gospel is of necessity to have eternal life.
Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.