People of the sabbath

Israel was the people of the Sabbath, the pagans were the people of the week. In art, science, statecraft, in everything belonging to the arena of culture, Israel was far inferior to many a pagan nation. But to her the words of God were entrusted. She knew the value and significance of personality, first of all of God’s personality, but then also that of his image, human beings. For that reason Israel kept in view first and foremost that dimension of a person whereby one would rest in and depend on God. By contrast, the pagans developed especially that dimension of human personality whereby one stood above and over against nature. But since true freedom lay in serving God alone, the freedom idolized by pagans had to result in bankruptcy. Israel’s destiny, by contrast, lay embedded in the requirement to be holy as God is holy. (Herman Bavinck, “The Kingdom of God, The Highest Good”)

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