All of us would like to think of the place we live as a great country, state, or city. If we don’t already think of it as great, we wish it were. And that’s only natural. To take pride in where we live seems to be the right thing to do, and it leads to the patriotism and the more extreme form of it, the nationalism, we are seeing in the world today.

We find in Deuteronomy, chapter 4, that Moses had a lot to say about being a great nation. All through Deuteronomy, he tells God’s people that they are to care for widows, orphans, and foreigners (or strangers, as he called them). Having equality in how they functioned and governed would certainly be necessary for their greatness. Just as it is today.

But there was much more to Israel’s greatness than their laws and economy. The great nation God had in mind, the one that would welcome His Son, the Messiah, was a very special nation. One that God chose when He chose Abraham and his descendants for this unique task.

Moses made plain that their greatness would depend on their faith and obedience to God. God would be their leader. As we read further in the Old Testament, we see that many times they failed in this. God repeatedly was brought in and out of the picture.

By the time Jesus was born, God’s chosen people were quite few in number. But they were enough to welcome His birth, to help Him grow to manhood, and to have the ministry God called Him to have.

When we think of being great, we can only reach that goal by reaching out to God. Whether our whole country does this is not important. As individuals and churches, we must do as Moses encouraged God’s people in Deuteronomy 30:20…

“that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days, and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

That land and country we have been promised is now a heavenly one. (See Hebrews 11:16.) Now, that’s a country we can truly call great.

To find out more about this topic of national greatness, see this week’s Sabbath School lesson. Here’s what it’s about…