We are God’s ‘SPECIAL PEOPLE’ in this world: "This day the Lord your God commands you to observe these statutes and judgments; therefore you shall be careful to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. Today you have proclaimed the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice. Also today the Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments, and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken." (Deut 26:16-19)
In the above passage God is ratifying the Abrahamic Covenant with the Israelites, and these verses are a part of the covenant renewal ceremony. Moses concludes his lengthy exposition of the covenant by demanding total obedience from the Israelites as they were God’s ‘special people’. Since the Israelites had accepted the terms of God’s covenant by their pledge of obedience to God (v. 17; Exodus 24:7), the two parties of the covenant (God and the Israelites) now “proclaimed” loyalty to each other (vv. 17, 18).
God acknowledged the Israelites as His own ‘special people’ and promised to exalt them above all other nations, since they had agreed to walk in godly ways. They were to be a ‘holy people’ set apart from the other nations by God as His peculiar treasure. In turn, the Israelites were to respond to this great honor by completely obeying God!
Throughout the book of Deuteronomy, God is demanding obedience from the Israelites, which should be part of their loving response to God accepting them as His ‘special people’. The first generation had declared their loyalty to God at the foot of Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:7). Now, in this covenant renewal ceremony, the new Israelite generation reconfirms their commitment to God that they will live by His revelation henceforth!
The Hebrew word for ‘special people’ speaks of God’s delight in His people as His special jewel, an adornment that He treasures. This also denotes an elect people, set apart by the Lord to Himself, committed to the Lord and His revelation, and exalted above all the other nations (Exodus 19:5; Malachi 3:17).
As God’s ‘special people’ of our times, we should be totally obedient to God’s Word as well. When we are close to God, we will separate ourselves from the worldly system (1 John 2:15-17) and anything that stands in our way to do God’s will in our lives. If we do that, God promises to honor us as He did to Abraham long ago (Gen. 12:2, 3; Isaiah 60; Romans 8:18, 19). God has designated His church as His ‘special people’, holy and separated for carrying out His plan in this world. Let us rise up to carry out our responsibilities today!