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The People of God

On four different occasions in the book of Deuteronomy, Moses summoned the people to receive instruction from the Lord by saying, "Hear, O Israel…" (5:1; 6:4; 9:1; 20:3). Someone has stated that it ought to be a matter of encouragement to every sane person that God has spoken to us.

Just prior to fording the Jordan River into the Promised Land, "Moses and the priests spoke to all Israel, saying, 'Take heed and listen, O Israel; This day you have become the people of God. Therefore you shall obey the voice of the Lord your God, and observe His commandments and His statutes which I command you today'" (Deuteronomy 27:9). There is something significant about being called the people of God. While I write that I know none would dispute it though some by their teaching and practice make it void.

What it meant to be the people of God is that they were to "take heed" to what God says. It is not merely acknowledging that God has spoken. It is not some mere exercise in the reading and recitation of some facts. It is to give one's self over to what God says for the sole purpose of obeying. One is not taking heed who argues, complains and becomes disgruntled with the message of God. A chief characteristic of the people of God is that they respond to God's word without questioning, rationalizing otherwise discounting the word to mean anything more or less than what it says. Furthermore, they do not allow circumstances, whether convenient or not, to determine whether or not they heed God's commands.

It is interesting to note Moses tells Israel to "Take heed and listen." Why this order of "take heed" and "listen?" Moses had reminded Israel earlier that they were a special people to God (26:16-19) and with that comes not only privileges but solemn responsibilities which should be carried out with all their heart and soul. To listen then, is another mark of the people of God, it indicates their readiness and willingness to hear God whenever and wherever He speaks. Again someone has well noted that listening is the beginning of all understanding (James 1:19-20). Thus, to listen is an expression of dependence on God; as obedience (from the heart and soul) is an expression of gratitude toward God by those who are called the people of God.

God speaks today through His Son Jesus Christ and it is contained in the New Testament (Hebrews 1:1-3; John 12:48-50). Can we do any less today, with respect to God's instructions through His Son, than "take heed and listen" if we truly desire to be the people of God? While Israel, the people of God, under the Old Testament received the earthly promised land, the Hebrew writer reminds those today under the New Covenant "There remains therefore a rest for the people of God" (Hebrews 4:9). Let us, "Take heed and listen."

— via Power Talk, Lexington, Kentucky