For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. (Deuteronomy 7:6)
Rather than aligning themselves with the inhabitants of the land, which would make them vulnerable to their wicked ways, Israel was to be completely set apart from them. To accentuate the point, God instructed them to break down their altars, smash their pillars, cut down their asherim (trees or poles) and burn their idols. In other words, destroy what they believe in so it would not affect the people of Israel. One would be hard pressed to find room for ambiguity in these instructions. But we should be careful not to miss the main objective revealed in these commands: it wasn’t about destroying one thing as much as preserving another.
Over and again, God makes it clear that Israel was to be a “holy people,” set apart for His purposes. Moreover, on multiple occasions, He referred to them as His own “special treasure” or as a “peculiar treasure.” The Hebrew word translated in this manner is סגלה s’gulah, which is understood in a literal sense to be “jewels.” More than just common stones, His people are precious stones — the jewels that He keeps segregated from others because He regards them as extremely valuable. As such, He doesn’t want them to be tainted or misused by those who fail to appreciate their value.
This is the concept Peter referred to when he said of those who follow Messiah, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). And so the point, today, is that we are regarded as “special” in God’s eyes but not because we are better than others. We are special only because He chose us — we didn’t choose Him. We are special because we have been called to fulfill a special purpose which is to be a holy nation. In so doing, the light that shines in and through us is intended to draw others out of darkness and to the Father of Light. Doing what we were placed here to do for the Father is why we are valuable, and so, let’s continue being the jewels He has ordained us to be.
Blessings and Shalom,