In Deuteronomy 10, Moses (again) was recounting Israel’s history and (again) used those accounts to admonish his people to faithfulness. Amid that admonishment he said something else.
Read Deuteronomy 10:17-19. What’s the essential message to the people here, and why is this message relevant to God’s church today?
The phrase “shows no partiality” is translated from a Hebrew figure of speech; it means literally that He does not “lift up faces.” This is believed to have come from a legal setting in which the judge or king sees the face of the person on trial and, based on that person’s status (important person or someone insignificant), the judge or king renders a verdict. The implication here in Deuteronomy is that the Lord doesn’t treat people in such a manner, despite His great power and might. He’s fair with everyone, regardless of their status. This truth, of course, was revealed in the life of Jesus and how He treated even the most despised in society.
Read Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11, Galatians 2:6, Ephesians 6:9, Colossians 3:25, and 1 Peter 1:17. How do these texts make use of Deuteronomy 10:17?
However varied the circumstances in each one of these references (in Ephesians Paul tells masters to be careful how they treat their slaves; in Romans Paul is talking about the fact that, when it comes to salvation and condemnation, there’s no difference between Jews and Gentiles), they all go back to Deuteronomy and to the idea that God “does not lift up faces.” And if the “God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome” won’t do it, then certainly we shouldn’t, as well.
Particularly in how Paul in Romans uses it, we can see a revelation of the gospel: we are all on the same plane, regardless of who we are in terms of status. We are all fallen beings in need of God’s saving grace. And the good news is that, regardless of our status, we all are offered salvation in Jesus Christ.
|How often, even subtly, do you “lift up faces,” and why does the cross show us how sinful that attitude really is?|