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But it was because the Lord loves you

The Lord set his affection on you and chose you because the Lord loved you. Deuteronomy 7:7-8

God gets bad press. The ‘liberal media’ has been around since the Garden of Eden. “Did God really say…? You know why he said that, right…he wants to dis-empower you!” As Israel came out of Egypt Moses tried to help untangle their preconceptions about God from their experience of Egyptian gods. He also tried to lay the groundwork for the fledgling nation to avoid future entrapment by other gods.

The 10 Commandments and related instructions were therefore very clear: keep God as the one and only, and don’t flirt with foreign gods. “Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them.” This is the M&M verse (if it helps you remember it better): no money, no mercy, no marriage, no mingling. Israel knew slavery—they had been at the receiving end of it for many years. Back in the tent as they thought about the Promised Land Abie, Jakob and Benjie were probably chatting about hitting on some Hittities, or having some amore with an Amorite, or getting a spicy side of Perizzite. Moses tells them, “Don’t even think about it.” In the other tents the guys are saying, “But didn’t God make all of us, if we date them can’t we disciple them, and aren’t some of them are half Jewish anyway?” The Hebrew women have their own conversations, of course, thinking about seeing some guy who hasn’t been wearing the same “fashions” for 40 years, owns his own house, and has a steady job.

for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods.

Imagine if you had gone out and brought the most expensive engagement ring, and made the most elaborate plans for a future home, and spared no effort in rescuing your future bride from slavery… imagine if for centuries you had planned a future together. Imagine if you had picked out the perfect home. Imagine if you had got the best ‘best man’ and sent out the best wedding announcements, and developed the best household guidelines to ensure eternal happiness. And then, how would you feel if you were barely back from the printing press when she was cavorting around with other guys? Friends, all of these commandments—and the M&M instructions—are about love, not rules. They are pleas from a God passionate for an exclusive love relationship with is people. They are not dictates by some overlord who had too much time on his hands so decided to come up with complicated rules. They missed the point back then, and we miss it today. It’s about love, not lectures. If we are living in a rule-bound lecture world we have lost site of the love. Feel the love, folks, feel the love!

The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.

Does it get any more loving, more promise keeping, than that? It does. Thousands of years later when they had become love lost and law twisted he sent another love letter, this time with more flesh on it. Some embraced him.

Reflections

  • Is your relationship with God tilted towards rules, or love?
  • What does he want it to be going forward? What do you want it to be? 
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