3.65 Deuteronomy -- The Glory of the Law
In Numbers, we learned about the burden and privilege of bearing God's Presence before the nations (section 3.3.11). In Deut 4, Moses says that Israel's fidelity to the covenant will glorify God among the nations:
"Observe [the laws] carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?" (Deut 4:6-8)
This is a very important passage, as it brings together three aspects of God's purpose in history: His unique Presence with Israel, the wisdom and righteousness of His laws, and a demonstration before the nations. There is an intention here of provoking the nations to jealousy. All three elements flow together into a concern for global impact: God will not attempt to conquer external nations by imposing His will on them, but He will attempt to attract them by offering them in Israel an example of what a holy nation looks like. The example of a righteous and prosperous Israel will provoke the nations to admiration and emulation. This is an alternative to a more modern and familiar pattern -- religious imperialism.