“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the LORD is one”Deut 6:4-5
“Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”1 Cor 8:6
Yahweh the LORD is the only one true God. He is the Creator and Redeemer of the world, in Him is the universal lordship over all nations. There is none like Him, revealing Himself to those He loves and making a covenant with them. This is the uniqueness of Yahweh.
In the last article, we saw that Israel came into existence for the sake of the nations of the world. In fact, no other nation had the same relationship and experience Israel had with Yahweh. She is set apart to be entrusted with the revelation of the unique Yahweh and to be His testimony. This is the mission of Israel. These define Israel as Yahweh’s elect and make her a unique people in a godless world.
Hence, for Israel to participate in idolatry is an utter betrayal of the Truth and of her election. This is the reason God expected her to adopt an uncompromising attitude towards all forms of idolatries and practices of divination, sorcery, omens, witchcraft, casting spells, or who is a medium…etc (Deut 18:10,11)
So, when Israel was standing on the land of Moab on the east bank of Jordan, on one side of them was the culture of the tabernacle and a simple nomadic lifestyle in the past forty years. On the other side was the city lifestyle on a fertile land rich in all kinds of produce as well as all forms of idolatry. Before they cross over into the idolatry culture, Moses gave Israel a salient call: will you remain faithful to the LORD your God? or will you exchange Him for the pleasure of moral decay? If Israel compromised, she would lose her uniqueness and thus the purpose to exist. And they did.
The mission of Israel was embodied in Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus incarnated the presence of Yahweh, manifested the universal Lordship of Yahweh, and inaugurated His Kingdom of Righteousness on earth. The church is born of Christ’s mission with a commission: to proclaim that the LORD is ONE through truthful worship and complete obedience to Him: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations … and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Mat 28:19,20) This is the uniqueness of the church.
From the calling of Abraham to the coming of Jesus was what Paul called the ages in which “the plan of the mystery hidden in God” (Eph 3:9 ESV) It is not until Jesus came that God started to send His people out to all nations, thereby fulfilling Yahweh’s promise to all nations that they would be blessed by Abraham on a full-fledged scale
So we see: The OT Israel and the NT church share the same uniqueness. They both are to be a challenge to all idolatries and polytheism in the surrounding culture. This is the frontline of the mission’s battlefield. If believers forsake the sword of the Spirit and follow the culture of the godless world, the church will soon lose her identity and purpose of existence!