Introduction: Last week we touched on the subject of whether and why God would choose a certain group to be His special messengers to the world. The Bible reveals that God chose Israel to be His “covenant partner.” This week we explore further the question of what this meant to Israel. Does God have special messengers today? If God has special messengers today, who are they? Is it a job we would want? Is it a job we can have? Let’s dive into our study and find out!


  1.         The Covenant with Israel

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 7:1-3. Is this how you would map out a plan to evangelize the community?

  1.         When I was a teenager, the church established a “youth center” for the teens of the church and the community. There was a bit of controversy over this idea. How would you grade that idea if you had only this text to consider?

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 7:4-6. What is the reason behind God’s directive to destroy, rather than convert the neighborhood the Israelites were entering? (God says “I have chosen you to be My special people. You are not going to convert them, they are going to convert you.”)

  1.         These verses seem so out of character with the commands of the New Testament and our picture of a loving God. How would you explain these texts in the greater context of the Bible? (We do not need to look far. Read Deuteronomy 7:9-10. There comes a time for judgment. A time that only God knows. When that time comes, the opportunity for conversion has ended and the time for God’s judgment has come. God, in His wisdom, knew that the time for judgment and not conversion had come for the people who lived in the area.)

  1.         We know from the stories about the Exodus that the Israelites sinned. Why are they getting “favored treatment?” Why did God choose them to be His special people over these other sinners? (Read Deuteronomy 7:7-8. God says it was because of the covenants (the contracts, the promises) that He made to their ancestors that they were chosen.)

  1.         How far does having the right relatives go? Can God’s special people go on sinning and still expect to be favored? Read Deuteronomy 7:11-15. What does this say about the possibility of being thrown out of the group? (Verse 12 starts out with “because you listen to these rules and keep and do them.” The promise was conditional upon obedience.)

  1.         Scan Deuteronomy 28. Keep your eyes open when you come to verses 15 and following. Were God’s “covenant partners” allowed to continue sinning without adverse consequences?

  1.         Would you want this covenant today? If it were offered, would you take it?

  1.         Read Jeremiah 11:6-8. Was God just “putting fear in their heart” when He talked about the possibility of curses? Was God serious about obedience? (God very clearly imposed the “downside” part of the agreement on His people.)

  1.         There is much controversy today over whether God will ultimately fulfill His old covenant promises to Israel of today. What do you think, is this still a standing offer to Israel?

  1.         What do the texts we have just read suggest? (Assuming this offer still stands, it is clearly conditional on obedience.)

  1.         Let’s look at some other texts on this. Read Isaiah 4:3 and Zephaniah 3:12-13. What do these texts suggest about the ultimate fulfillment of these promises? (These suggest that some of God’s people were faithful and God blessed them.)

  1.         The Covenant With Us

  1.         Let’s look at Deuteronomy 7:12-15 again. Notice the breathtaking scope of the covenant. We briefly touched on whether you would today want to enter into the covenant God offered to Israel.

  1.         Is this covenant available to us today?

  1.         Can we be chosen?

  1.         Have we been chosen? (Read Galatians 3:29. This is what we discussed last week. If you accept Jesus, then you become part of the “favored group” – a group that does not make distinctions based on race, wealth or sex. Galatians 3:28.)

  1.         What “distinctions” are made in this group? (The distinctions seem to be based on obedience. Obey, be blessed. Disobey, be cursed.)

  1.         My heart immediately asks, “What about the good people who have bad things happen to them?” “What about my friends who have had cancer?” Is the Deuteronomy 28 idea “obey, be blessed, disobey be cursed” contradicted by what we see?

  1.         Should we decide what the Biblical rule is by what we see? Or, should we decide what the Biblical rule is by comparing Bible texts, and not life experiences? (Deuteronomy 28, and similar texts, show the sovereignty of God. If we believe that God is like a parent to us, if we believe that God is in charge of all (despite the sin problem), then we must believe that God works out what happens in our lives for our good. We also know He has promised to destroy sin and sinners. Ultimately, when the sin problem has been defeated, He will give us the full blessing that He desires for us. The “end game” is that the righteous will be blessed and the wicked will be cursed by the ultimate penalty – eternal death.)

  1.         This entire discussion of the “old covenants” applying to us no doubt makes some readers nervous. What, you may ask, do we say about Paul’s comments about the “new covenant?” Let’s read Galatians 4:24-26. What does this add to our discussion so far? Does it suggest we are going down the wrong track?

  1.         Read 2 Corinthians 3:7-8. How can the Ten Commandments be called “the ministry that brought death?” Didn’t we just learn that obedience brought great blessings?

  1.         Read Romans 8:3-4. What has been added to the equation in the “new covenant?” What additional element exists? (Praise God! He sent His Son to obey the law and thus fulfill that requirement for us.)

  1.         What does verse 4 suggest about our continuing obligation under the covenant to obey?

  1.         Read Romans 4:16-17. How much has the covenant promise to Abraham varied from the covenant promise to us? (Read Romans 4:18-25.)

  1.         Earlier I asked if what we observed in life undercut our trust in what God says about His covenant. As you look around you, what quality of life do those enjoy who obey God? (I view the primary reason for obedience to be a practical one – God set these rules so that we would enjoy better lives. I do not think that God’s purpose in creating the law was to be a measuring stick to judge us. My view fits perfectly with a God of love.)

  1.         Friend, the covenant promise from God has never changed. Abraham was given an “impossible” promise, something that he and his wife could not fulfill in their old age. But, Abraham believed and God did the impossible for him. That was “credited to him as righteousness.” The same is true for us today. We cannot fulfill the law, but by faith in Jesus, it has been done on our behalf. Does that change the rest of the covenant? No. It is still true that God is sovereign, and that He will reward faithfulness and will destroy the unfaithful. Our Sovereign God knows that obeying His commandments makes life more enjoyable. The question for you today is this: will you enter into a covenant relationship with Him?

  1.         Next Week: Covenant at Sinai.