A DECLARATION OF FAITH (1977)
CHAPTER THREE -- GOD AND THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL
1 (1) God chose one people for the sake of all.
2 To the world in its rebellion and alienation
3 God promised blessing and restoration.
4 The Lord chose Abraham and his descendants
5 as bearers of that promise for all peoples.
6 They had done nothing more than others
7 to deserve the Lord's favor,
8 but God loved them and made them his own.
9 We acknowledge God's
freedom and grace.
10 Though we are unworthy,
11 the Lord has made us his own in Christ.
12 God has chosen us as his servants for the sake of the world
13 and destined us to be his daughters and sons,
14 giving us love and life,
15 calling us to worship and honor him.
16 (2) God delivered his people.
17 When Abraham's descendants were slaves in Egypt,
18 God heard their cries and prayers.
19 God remembered his promise
20 and sent Moses to free them from bondage.
21 We declare God's steadfast love
and sovereign power.
22 The Lord can be trusted to keep promises.
23 The Lord still acts in the affairs of individuals and nations
24 to set oppressed and persecuted people free.
25 (3) God bound his people to himself in covenant.
26 Freed slaves became the people of God
27 when they accepted the Lord's covenant.
28 God charged them to respond to his rescuing love
29 by obeying God's commandments.
30 Their life together was to express
31 the justice and compassion of their holy God.
32 Since we, too, are the Lord's
33 we know we must be holy as the Lord is holy.
34 We must keep God's commandments,
35 not in order to earn or compel the Lord's favor,
36 but to reflect the character of God
37 and to be his grateful and loving people.
38 (4) God blessed and judged his people.
39 The Lord's care sustained the people of Israel.
40 God gave them a land where they could celebrate his goodness.
41 The Lord established their kingdom and
42 promised a ruler from the line of David
43 to reign in justice and peace.
44 When God's people worshipped the gods of the land,
45 when they put their trust in military alliances,
46 when they failed to do justice and oppressed the poor,
47 God sent the prophets to condemn their sins
48 and to call the people back to obedience.
49 There were times of repentance and reform,
50 but in the end their kingdoms fell.
51 We declare God's goodness and
52 God has blessed us beyond our deserving.
53 When we forget the Lord and worship our possessions,
54 when we fail to deal justly with the poor,
55 when we seek security no matter what it costs others,
56 we can expect God's judgment upon us.
57 (5) God did not forsake his people.
58 God restored some of the people to their land
59 and left others scattered over the earth.
60 In a time of exile and alien rule,
61 the Jews survived and multiplied.
62 They enriched the whole world:
63 they compiled the Scriptures, preserving God's Word to them;
64 they sang their songs of praise and lamentation;
65 they sought wisdom, examining God's ways in the world;
66 they searched the mysteries of rising and falling kingdoms
67 and set their hope on the kingdom of God.
68 We testify that God is faithful.
69 Even when we are faithless, God remains faithful.
70 The Lord still brings form oppressed and uprooted peoples
71 riches of insight and daring visions
72 that can judge and bless the world.
73 We can have confidence in God's coming kingdom
74 even in the darkest times.