Do you ever wonder why God chose Israel? Does that mean God loves Israel and the Jewish people more than others? What did Israel do to earn such favor?
Those are all fair questions, and ones I hear quite often. So, during this week of questions, let’s tackle these!! We’ll begin with a key passage in Deuteronomy 7:6-8:
6 “For you [Israel] are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. 7 The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; 8 but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
God’s passionate love for His chosen people is clear throughout Scripture, where we find Israel to be His special treasure, the apple of His eye, and the one to whom the Messiah was sent. So, how are we to reconcile the idea of God’s passionate heart toward Israel with our sense of justice and fair play? Perhaps Genesis 12:3 provides a clue:
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Most of us are familiar with the first two phrases of that passage, but focus on the third phrase for a moment. Indeed, God called Abraham and his descendants (the Jewish people) for a very special and unique purpose: to bless all the families of the earth.
With special and unique calling comes great responsibility! God wanted a flagship nation that would be an example to the world, not of their own greatness and merit, but of God’s faithfulness. They were chosen, not of their own merit, but to be used by God as a conduit to bless every family of the earth.
Indeed, the Jewish people gave us the prophets, the disciples, the Word of God…and the Jewish Messiah who we now call our Savior! Is there a greater blessing in all the world than that?
You see, God’s calling upon any of us is not because we deserve it. Nor is it because we earn it or can achieve it. God’s call, whether upon the Jewish people or upon each of us, is always outward facing to a sinful world in need of redemption. He doesn’t love them more…He simply has a different purpose for Israel than for the rest of the world!
In fact. Jewish people remark at times that they never chose to be chosen, wishing God had chosen someone besides them! Let’s face it: history has not been kind to God’s chosen people! God calls them to a higher standard because of His calling. Think about this. Salvation came first to the Jews (Romans 1:16), yet for the most part, they rejected Jesus as Savior. For that reason, salvation came to us Gentiles! The Jewish people blessed us with the Redeemer! So, who does God love more? (We cannot say!)
Because God knew His own chosen people would reject His Son, He set into motion a plan for redemption of the Jewish people as well. Today, Jews come to Jesus the exact same way we Gentiles do: by faith in Jesus. But comparably few do. Collectively, their eyes are blinded. God’s plan of redemption for them will be a difficult path called “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” also known as the Tribulation.
We currently live in the church age, where salvation has gone out to the world, thanks to Jewish apostles in the 1st century, such as Paul, Timothy and others! However, the Bible describes a time when the Antichrist will arise on the scene and will cut a peace deal. The Jews will fall for it because it allows them to rebuild their temple, but midway through the 7-year peace deal, the Antichrist will enter the temple and take his place upon the throne. Jewish eyes will be open to see they have followed a false Christ and they will flee for safety.
When Jesus returns at the end of the 7-year Tribulation, Jewish hearts, minds and eyes will be open to recognized Jesus as the Messiah and Romans 11:26 says, …all Israel will be saved. But note: “all Israel” will be only a remnant, as the horrific events of the Tribulation will wipe out 2/3 of the Jewish people.
So, why did God choose Israel? Because He is God and He chooses as He pleases! Not because of their inherent goodness, but because He selected them to be the vehicle of world redemption, despite themselves.
Does God love Israel more than other people groups and nations? No way! Just as a perfect parent knows each of their children are unique, yet equally loved, so God uniquely gifted Israel for a particular calling. He loves us all equally but has different assignments for us.
What did Israel do to earn His favor and His calling? Absolutely nothing! God’s goodness is based on His character, not on any person or nation’s merit. Israel, like us, has nothing of worth to give to God. Yet when we are yielded to Him, He makes a suitable vessel for His use! He has certainly used Israel to bless the world….and He will use you for the unique purpose He has called you to!