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 has 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?

    2. 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 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

    3. 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.)

    4. 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 “if you.” The promise was
      conditional upon obedience.)

    5. 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?

    6. 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.)

    7. 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.)

      2. 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.)

  2. 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?

      2. Can we be chosen?

      3. 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.(See Galatians 3:28))

      4. What “distinctions” are made in this group? (If this
        covenant is available, the distinctions seem to be
        based on obedience. Obey, be blessed. Disobey, be

        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?

        2. 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, as we learned last week, 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.)

    2. 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?

    3. 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?

    4. 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.)

    5. 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. The question for you today is
      this: will you enter into a covenant relationship with

  3. Next Week: Covenant at Sinai