TODAY’S READING: Deuteronomy 3–4
The Lord fights for us (Deut. 3:22) as long as we fight for His glory among all nations. As soon as we start fighting for our own glory or against our brothers, we have no guarantee of God’s protection. God says in effect, “Enough of that! You will not inherit the land” (v. 26). God’s mission is about God, not Moses and not me. The very fact that God denied Moses entry into the land of promise is testimony that God has no favorite son or people. God is the center of the gospel, the mission, and the glory, and He will use all who understand and rejoice in this beauty. God advises us to live in this wisdom in the sight of all the peoples of earth (4:5–8), that they, too, desire the beauty of Jehovah. Israel’s exceptionalism was so different than the current version of American exceptionalism (i.e., look out for our own national interests first). Chris Wright explains:
…It would be quite wrong to construe the affirmations of Israel’s uniqueness as tantamount to an absence of involvement by YHWH in the affairs of other nations. On the contrary, it was part of the bold claim of Israel that YHWH, their God, was the supreme mover on the stage of international history…the claim was that YHWH was in fact the sovereign God of all the earth, ruling the histories and destinies of all nations. And in that context of universal involvement with all nations, YHWH had a unique relationship with Israel.
It is the simple Abrahamic covenant, a covenant God will not break. We are blessed with knowing Jehovah in order that we are a blessing to every people on earth. Wright posits that the “covenantal and missional logic that surges through [chapter 4] runs in a grand loop” that can be summarized as follows:
- Israel is summoned to live in wholehearted obedience to God’s covenantal law when they take possession of the land (vv. 1–2).
- Failure to do so will lead to the same fate as befell those who were seduced into idolatry and immorality by the Moabites at Beth Peor (vv. 3–4).
- Covenant loyalty and obedience will constitute a witness to the nations whose interest and questions will revolve around the God they worship and the just laws they live by (vv. 5–8).
- This witness, however, would be utterly nullified by Israel going after other gods, and so they must be strenuously warned against that through reminders of their spectacular past and warnings of a horrific future if they ignore the word (vv. 32–38).
- Let them then demonstrate their acknowledgement of all these things in faithful obedience (vv. 39–40).
- Therein lies their future security as a people, and thereby also hangs their mission as the people chosen by God for the sake of His mission (v. 40).
Moses’ reminder to us is that there is no one like our God. The question, however, goes beyond knowing to sharing: Are we willing to share God’s heart for all people groups of earth by going, loving, and dying among the half million Hindi in South Africa who don’t know our incomparable Jehovah? Are we willing to risk people going to hell because we did not live holy lives, therefore Jehovah did not live among us, therefore there was nothing exceptional about us to draw the Hindi to Jesus? God forbid.
 Christopher J. H. Wright. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: VP Academic, 2006. 463.
 Ibid. 386.
 Ibid. 386.