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Wednesday: His Special People — 8 Comments

  1. I have on occasions taught students who liked to think they were special. (I better be careful here - some of them might read this comment) Some of them thought that since their parents were influential church or community members, or relatives, or on a scholarship, they had to be treated as special in my classes. Most of the time when students thought they were special, it meant that they could do less work than everyone else and get better marks. And when that did not work, there would be tears, anger, visits from parents or whatever. The problem was that the student's preception of being special was a manipulative self-interested one. (I hasten to add that I taught many students who were children of influential parents, relatives or on scholarships, or whose mother was an old girlfriend, who were model students and worked hard and honestly)

    When God calls someone special it is a call to responsibility, not an opportunity to control and manipulate. The pages of history are filled with the stories of people and organisations who thought they were special and had a covenant relationship with God, but whose theology was ambushed by institutional greed and political manipulation. The Papacy used their perception of special, to power the crusades, the inquisitions, and nationalism. The Dutch Reform Church of South Africa used the notion of a "covenant people" to justify the doctrine of apartheid. David Koresh used it to establish and control his Branch Davidian cult at Waco, Texas.

    I hesitate to use some of the terms that we like to label ourselves with, "God's special people", "the remnant church", and so on, without carefully thinking through what special really means.

    If I can jump forward to Joshua, I think his watershed moment is probably relevant:

    And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15 KJV

    The call to "specialness" is a call to service.

  2. Today's lesson reflects one of the wider themes of this quarter's study: presentation of 'present truth' within the context of the present world and its present conditions.

    If we are to present "present truth" in a way that is going to be perceived and received in the present (now) as the truth it actually is, we are going to need to give consideration to the way we present that 'truth'. This means we are also going to need to consider the present 'climate' and 'culture'.

    Over the past nearly 2 years now, we have been under a situation that 2 years ago I would not have believed would happen in our modern society: mandates, lockdowns, harsh compliance-breach penalties, etc. For some countries this is essentially nothing new - but for others such as Australia, this has been a significant and shocking change. We are now in a situation where authoritarian approaches have strengthened - with corresponding increase in the use and enforcement of 'commandments'.

    Consequently, if we take translated biblical terms such as "commandments" and present them to the world, will those terms actually convey to the modern person the actual intent of God? Or will we need to use different terms and/or explanation of translated biblical terms so that people don't get a wrong picture of who God is and what He is about?

    By the same token, it is essential in our current global context of increasingly manifest hypocrisy, that our walk also match our talk. Whether it be our personal interactions, or the 'way of being' (ie, manner) of our local church, the ability to convey 'present truth' that actually is truth will be affected by that 'manner'. If we or our local church reflect an authoritarian and commanding manner, what impression will others gain in regard to God's manner?

    The presentation of present truth is so much more than merely presentation of 'right doctrine' - even if such 'right doctrine' might be (somewhat) 'technically correct'.

    What do you think?

    • Yes, Brother Phil, you are correct. We need to demonstrate love to one another(the only way for special people are responsible people) and as you suggested "that our walk also match our talk." But I am wondering can we give what we don't have? Mercy,!

  3. In Moses’ day that last phrase meant “your children not yet born.” He did not need to include “your parents, no longer alive” because their parents had themselves made a covenant with God forty years before at Mount Sinai. But what Moses meant in a larger sense is that when we renew the covenant, when we dedicate our lives to the faith and way of life of our ancestors, they become immortal in us, as we become immortal in our children.

  4. What are the sacrifices we are making today?
    I remember when we bought a bigger home and we had to work weekends (Sundays)
    My daughter asked a question why are you working so hard after moving to this house. She was close to three years old at the time of her question. I said because of the bigger house we have to work hard. Her answer was let's move back.
    What are the present indulgence that is damaging our relationship with God and our neighbor?

  5. In light of today's lesson, how do we make sense of the story in Judges 11 (re: Jepthah's vow and his daughter--Judges 11:29-40)? Just want to hear your thoughts on it. Thanks!

  6. How did the children of Abraham become a 'special people'? - because their/our God is special! They were special because of the 'specialness' of the God who chose them. They also became 'special' in that they were given the offer to obtain their God's 'specialness' in their being a human, as He taught them to worship Him and His kingdom's way of life, instead of false gods and idols of people who live their life according to the traditions of their fathers.

    Does this invite us to inquire about this 'specialness' of our Creator God and His Son, what it is all about? Are we curious enough to find out who our God is and how He operates in our lives; 'where and how He lives' and who His followers are who live in the Kingdom of God? 
    Our Creator God's Name is established on His Glory - Power, Might and His everlasting Love. Are we familiar with what His Glory implies? I think man considers his existence as a species as inevitable - a given because other life around him also exists -, and consider this to be based on evolutionary thinking. No, as I see it, we have been special ever since 'They' decided to make the human species in Their Own Image - Gen.1:27. 

    Yes, the people of Israel were eventually chosen to be offered the Covenant God made with man, but their specialness came from Who extended this offer of a Covenant to teach them the Way of the Kingdom of God - Heaven's way of life. Today, as man accepts the Creator of Heaven and Earth to be His God and Christ Jesus to be his Savior, he still only derives his 'specialness' from the Power of His Creator's Love, of the One who he believes in, and the life he/she decides to live according to Their Way of Truth.


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