For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.
The Bible teaches us that God chose “a holy people” for Himself, to be His “special treasure.” But why did He choose the Jewish people? Did He care about only one group of people? Not at all! Beginning with Abraham, God chose the people of Israel for a very specific reason: He wanted to bless the entire world!
Genesis 12:3 is often quoted (including on this blog!) when emphasizing the importance of blessing Israel. However, it is important to grasp the full context of that truth. Read Genesis 12:2-3 slowly and carefully:
I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” [Emphasis mine]
Do you see it? The Lord, speaking to Abraham, was looking for a man obedient enough to carry out His plan. Through Abraham’s descendents, God desired to bring blessing to the entire world!
God reiterated that desire to Moses:
Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation. [Emphasis mine]
As mediators between the people and God, priests taught of the ways of God, and Israel was called “a nation of priests,” sent to teach the rest of the world the ways of the Lord.
Furthermore, the Messiah was to come through the line of Judah…a Jewish tribe. Thus, God didn’t leave it all to His holy nation, but sent a Messiah through the chosen people. The book of Isaiah tells us that a servant of the Lord would be a light to the nations.
“I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.
I will take you by the hand and guard you,
and I will give you to my people, Israel,
as a symbol of my covenant with them.
And you will be a light to guide the nations.
You will open the eyes of the blind.
You will free the captives from prison,
releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.
He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me.
I will make you a light to the Gentiles,
and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
The Psalms are filled with exhortations for God’s praises to be declared among all nations. (For example: Psalm 18:49, Psalm 22:27-28, Psalm 45:17, Psalm 67:1-7, Psalm 86:9,Psalm 108:3) Indeed, part of God’s call to the Jewish people is to declare God’s praises among the all nations.
As Gentiles, aren’t we glad that God didn’t “play favorites,” but simply asked a “chosen people” to bless the whole world by proclaiming God’s praises! Today, salvation is open to Gentiles because a Jewish Savior shed His blood to forgive our sins, then resurrected to give us His life. We owe our Jewish friends a lot! So, let’s bless Israel for being a light to the Gentiles!
Happy Lord’s Day!