The sons of Israel were to be different because they are chosen as the Lord’s possession. Of the Land animals, they could only eat animals that have split hooves and chew the cud. Of the water animals, they could only eat fish that have both scales and fins. They could eat grain eating birds but could not eat meat eating birds. They could not eat anything that died of itself and they could not boil a young goat in its mothers milk to eat it. They were to take one-tenth of the produce each year and eat it together as one, at the place where the Lord chose to establish his name. They were to remember the Levite in their town and provide for the needs of the Levite. Every third year, they were to give the tithe to Levite, the alien, the orphan and the widows who live in their hometown.
This section of Moses’ great sermon, “Deuteronomy,” reminds me of Matthew 5:21-46. This section of Jesus great sermon, “The Sermon on the Mount,” has nothing to do with food regulations like Deuteronomy 14:1-29 does, but is about being different in the way we treat people. The apostle Peter said of the Christian:
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. (1 Pt 2:9-10)
Peter was using the language of Deuteronomy 14:2 towards gentile Christians, calling us, “A chosen race...A people for God’s own possession.”
Out of all the people on the earth, God chose the nation of Israel for his own possession. The gospel is not replacement theology but an extension of the mercy of God, to people from “every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” (Rv 5:10)
Today is Thursday, November 19, 2020, in one week we celebrate a national holiday in the United States of America called Thanksgiving. This holiday was first observed by Christian separatist, who fled persecution from the church of England. They had a harvest feast to the Lord as one congregation, a Thanksgiving feast. The sons of Israel were commanded by Moses to have an annual Thanksgiving feast, together, as one congregation, in the place that the Lord choose to call his name among them. However, every third year, the one-tenth of the produce eaten during the feast was given to the poor, even the alien living in their town.