I’ve been reading through the book of Deuteronomy the last week or so in my daily Bible reading. Deuteronomy has some great spots and some very tedious spots. Maybe it’s because I’m fresh off of an Israel trip in January but I noticed something uniquely this time through it.
Consider what God tells the Israelites as they are about to enter the land that He had promised to them and delivered them supernaturally into.
“Give the people these orders: ‘You are about to pass through the territory of your relatives the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. Do not provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land, not even enough to put your foot on. I have given Esau the hill country of Seir as his own.'” 2:4-5
“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Do not harass the Moabites or provoke them to war, for I will not give you any part of their land. I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession.'” 2:9
“When you come to the Ammonites, do not harass them or provoke them to war, for I will not give you possession of any land belonging to the Ammonites. I have given it as a possession to the descendants of Lot.” 2:19
Here are God’s people marching through the Promised Land and God is telling them what is off limits. I can only imagine their faces as they see each of these areas and then God tells them, “That’s not yours.” What? I thought we got whatever we wanted?
The reason these areas are off limits is because God is honoring agreements and actions of previous generations. Keep in mind that He is protecting the land for people groups that are NOT His chosen people of Israel.
In case God’s chosen people get carried away with themselves we see that God continually reminds them of the bigger picture. Then things turn truly abrupt in chapter nine.
“Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.” 9:6
This is almost humorous if it wasn’t for the fact that God stills has these kind of conversations today with His Church. Often when we are involved with what God is doing we can easily slip into a sense of entitlement. I mean, we have God on our team! We must be doing something right.
What we see in passages like these (and hundreds of others) is that God has a heart for all people yet He chooses some people to bless the other people. Whenever God’s people have confused this, God has had to give them a reminder shot of perspective.
So if you call yourself a Christian, hopefully you are indeed living with the Spirit of God in your life. But that doesn’t mean you are more special than the people around you. It means that God is looking to you to show them Him. And if you don’t consider yourself a Christian, I pray that you meet a healthy Christian soon who allows you to meet God firsthand.