Extreme Chosenness

By Ken Asel

A Reading from Deuteronomy 4:32-40 

32 For ask now about former ages, long before your own, ever since the day that God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of heaven to the other: has anything so great as this ever happened or has its like ever been heard of? 33 Has any people ever heard the voice of a god speaking out of a fire, as you have heard, and lived? 34 Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by terrifying displays of power, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? 35 To you it was shown so that you would acknowledge that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him. 36 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, while you heard his words coming out of the fire. 37 And because he loved your ancestors, he chose their descendants after them. He brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, 38 driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, giving you their land for a possession, as it is still today. 39 So acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. 40 Keep his statutes and his commandments, which I am commanding you today for your own well-being and that of your descendants after you, so that you may long remain in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.


The trek across the Sinai has proved to be a difficult one. Chased by brigands and bandits as well as the formable Egyptian army, Moses has grown weary, and yet he persists. Imagine his discouragement as the people he leads quickly turn from relief of escaping one enemy, to impatience, demanding to know why God or Moses or Aaron can’t find the pathway to Canaan. Moses vacillates between exultation over what God has done for the people of Israel and anger toward his charges who have grown cynical with wandering, and who long now to settle, raise their families, and live in harmony for a while.

Moses recalls once again the epic of liberation. This is also the tale of cleansing the refugees of Egyptian slavery. Remember, Moses reminds the refugees, how we have gotten to this place and why God has brought us here. They have the possibility to become a great nation and an example to the rest of the Middle East as Moses urges his people to wait just a bit longer: Make yourselves ready for the magnificent work God has in store for his people.

As Moses tells once more of the journey of the Exodus and the new home where God’s people will flourish through obedience, he appears to have accepted he will not accompany the Israelites across the Jordan. He has made peace with God and perhaps himself as well. One author termed this sustained relationship of God to his people as an “extreme example of chosenness.” We pray that God always gives us leaders to remind us of this chosenness; but whomever leads, we must depend on God alone.

In our own day, as we emerge from our own set of difficulties, we become inheritors of the promise along with the people of the Exodus, and are asked to proclaim the heart of our Creator, the power of the everlasting arms.

(The Reverend) J. Kenneth Asel, D.Min. is a retired priest from the Diocese of Wyoming. Devvie & he have been married 30 years and reside in the Texas Hill Country.

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Church of the Good Shepherd, Lookout Mountain, Tenn.
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