After God brought the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery, he taught them his ways. Most of all, he wanted the Israelites set apart, or holy, unto him. The book of Deuteronomy gives specifics on what that meant to the Israelites. It is a book where Moses teaches the people how to live in the new land they were about to enter. He exhorts them not to add to, or subtract from what he is saying, and tells them that they are alive today because they have “stuck” with the Lord. The Hebrew word “devakut” means “cleaving” in reference to communion with God. The word comes from the root word “davak,” meaning to “cling” or “stick.” A good metaphor to define our relationship with the Lord is to stick to Him like glue.
Deuteronomy 4 is a pivotal chapter of God’s plan for a people to become a nation and live by the laws and standards of God with promises that if they stick to God, God will protect and prosper them even unto salvation. Moses tells the people that if they keep the LORD’s laws and rulings, the people of the nations will see them, “as having wisdom and understanding,” and “What great nation has laws and rulings as just as this entire Torah that I am setting before you today?” Moses asks in verses 7 and 8, “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?”
At no other time in history then or now has God established a nation such as this—a nation of people set apart to live by His administration. The United States formed its government using many of the same precepts found in Deuteronomy, but it still falls short because God’s will is not being done. Founding Fathers like John Adams emphasized that the US Constitution was “made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Likewise, James Madison wrote that the Constitution requires “sufficient virtue among men for self-government” or “nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another.” They are saying essentially the same thing found in the teachings of Deuteronomy. The human element of sticking with God is essential.
It is that human factor, however, that falls short. The bright light of God’s precepts grows dim over the generations as parents become lax in teaching the statutes and commandments of God to their children. We see this in the example of both Israel and the United States. Notwithstanding, God brought us into his holy nation through the salvation of Christ. We are grafted in and as Peter says we are a holy nation, a peculiar priesthood to “show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Wherever we live, whatever nation on which our feet are planted, we are of the holy nation of God. And we enjoy the benefits of citizenship in God’s kingdom as we “davak,” or stick to Him like glue.