Today I direct your attention to a post by Alastair Roberts at Political Theology Today. In this piece he looks at Deuteronomy 4, noting that the primary means by which Israel will differentiate itself from the surrounding nations is by faithful obedience to the law. As a result of this obedience, Israel will be praised and honored by its neighbors for its wisdom; these accolades are typically reserved for a wise ruler but in this case they will extend to the entire nation. Through Israel’s obedience, the surrounding nations would see God’s nearness to them, a proximity much closer than that of any of the idols of the surrounding nations. The surrounding nations would also see the justice of Israel’s law, in that it provides for the liberation of all Israel’s social relations, with the poor, orphans and widows, strangers, debtors, and slaves. In short, Israel’s place among the nations would be secured by faithful obedience to the law.
This is in contrast to how much of modern evangelicalism engages the outside world. We see our primary political task as one of prophetic engagement, but this comes at the neglect of what is truly our primary political task, namely being a “city set on a hill”, showcasing a life of fellowship with God in a manner both compelling and convicting to the watching world. The New Testament epistles are rife with exhortations to live lives of submission to the authorities, peacefulness, gentleness, humility, and minding our own business, so that at the end of the day even our staunchest opponents have nothing evil to say of us. These exhortations stand as an embarrassment to those of us who value prophetic activism and culture-war methods.