For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for His special treasure out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Moses puts his finger on the motivation for obedience in all ages: God chose the believer. When it comes to the Israelites, God chose an entire people group in whom to do something special and through whom to demonstrate His mercy and by whom He would bring salvation to all in the promised Messiah.
Moses states that the Israelites are a holy people. The idea of holiness has become a Church Word; a concept not really used all that much outside of church circles. But the idea of holiness is the idea of being set apart, unique, or different. The Israelites were unique in their time as monotheism was not practiced by many if any other nations at the time. The only historical attempt at monotheism that I have ever read about, apart from the Israelites, was when one of the Pharaohs tried to make Ancient Egypt monotheistic. The Ancient Egyptians reverted to polytheism almost as soon as that Pharaoh died. The Israelites are unique in that their origin traces back to one person being called out of the people and place where he lived and told to go elsewhere. The Israelites are unique in that God chose them to be the people through whom He brought His Messiah into the world and to whom He gave His Law. Above and beyond all of this, God has repeatedly shown Israel a special attention throughout history.
But to apply this, it must extend to me. And I am not an Israelite.
There is a promise-slash-prophecy made by God that He will will make them jealous with [those who] are not a people … will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation (Deuteronomy 32:21). That promise-slash-prophecy finds its fulfillment in the church. When the early church went around preaching Christ and generally turning the Roman world upside down, the Israelite leaders of the day were moved to jealousy. They could see plainly that God was working through those believers and it galled them.
More, Paul writes that the believers have been grafted in (Romans 11) so that we might share in the fulfillment of the promise. And believers are often referred to as elect.
As a believer, I have been chosen by God — Romans 8 says predestined — so that I might live a holy life; a life set apart and different and marked by God’s presence and power. My place in that equation is to give place to the Holy Spirit as He seeks to conform me to the image of Christ so that God’s power can be shown in and through me and my life.
Thank You, God, for choosing one as foolish and headstrong and flawed as me. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for ceaselessly working in me and on me to conform me to the image of Christ. I know that I do not always make the work easy, but I ask that You would create in me a willing heart and a steadfast spirit that I might cooperate with You and live the holy life You want me to live.