“Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?” (Deut. 4:34).
These words were spoken by the prophet Moses as the people of Israel stood on the banks of the River Jordan gazing for the second time at the Promised Land. Forty years after their parents refused to enter in and conquer the land, a new generation of warriors was presented with the same challenge. As Moses prepared to ascend Mt. Pisgah never to return, he left the people with a sermon of remembrance, exhortation, and encouragement.
Moses knew the people all too well, and he knew how forgetful they were. One of the most remarkable things about the people of Israel was their uncanny ability to forget events like the plagues in Egypt, their deliverance from slavery, and the parting of the Red Sea. Their salvation from slavery was no light matter. In fact, Moses asks, “Is there any god in history who has attempted so great a salvation–one fraught with trials, signs, wonders, war? What god is able to rescue a nation from the grips of another nation?” The answer of course is: “There is no other god.”
We often like to to think that salvation is so easy. It’s so simple. It’s easy for God to forgive us. It’s easy for God to save us. However, Moses reminds the people exactly how difficult it was for God to rescue his people from the clutches of Egyptian power.
Our salvation was wrought by the terrifying execution of Jesus Christ on the cross. Deliverance came by the hard fought battle of the Holy Spirit for your soul. When you repented and believed, it was no simple matter; you were ripped from the domain of Darkness and transferred into the Kingdom of His Beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). That’s Darkness with a capital “D”.
The Church is a nation of people who have been rescued in a manner like Israel. It took a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. There were trials, signs, and wonders. A war between the Kingdoms was fought for your soul. The Prince of Darkness had a hellish grip on you and kept you enslaved to sin. Had God not sent a Deliverer to lead you out of slavery, through the water, and to the promise land, you would have never escaped Egypt.
1 Peter 2:9 puts it this way, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Peter is not talking to Israel–or America for that matter–but to the Church. Praise be to the only God who is able to take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation!