As they entered the promised land, the people of God received this reminder of the undeserved grace of God – “It is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this land to possess” (Deuteronomy 9:6). In His free grace, God gave the land to Israel. To us, He has graciously given the Kingdom – “Your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32). To Israel, the Psalmist says, “Put your hope in God” (Psalm 42:11). To us also, this comes as a Word from the Lord and, with the Psalmist, we make our declaration, “I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God” (Psalm 42:11).
The people of God lived in a situation where there was much idolatry. For them, there could be no compromise. We are to be watchful as the Lord’s Return draws near. We dare not live as the world does. We are to live in the Lord’s way. In the midst of “an ungodly nation”, we are to pray, “Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You dwell” (Psalm 43:3). As we look at this “ungodly nation”, it is easy to become “downcast.” We must learn to say to ourselves, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God” (Psalm 43:5).
In our day, there are many who say, “Let us follow other gods.” God says, “You must not listen” to such people (Deuteronomy 13:2-3). To follow the Lord’s instruction is not popular. Nevertheless, this is what we must do: “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24). Whatever the world may say, we must stand by the truth of God’s Word: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
The people of God had been blessed by God. They had much to celebrate. The Lord had brought them out of the land of bondage. He was about to bring them into the land of promise. As we celebrate the love of God, we give the place of highest honour to Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Why did God give Israel the promised land? It was because He “loved them” (Psalm 44:3). We know the love of God in Christ. Concerning Christ, we say, with thanksgiving, “You give us victory over our enemies” (Psalm 44:7). In Him, we rejoice – “In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your Name for ever” (Psalm 44:8).
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet …” (Deuteronomy 18:15). This prophecy has its greatest fulfilment in Christ. Jesus is more than a prophet. He is the substance of the prophecy concerning God’s Kingdom. The coming of God’s Kingdom is the coming of Christ – both His first coming (our foretaste of heavenly glory) and His second coming (the fullness of heavenly glory). In Christ, there is redemption – a redemption we have begun to know, a redemption which we will enjoy in its fullness when Christ returns. Then, we will know the full answer to the prayer of Psalm 44:26 – “redeem us because of Your unfailing love.”