Why did God choose Israel?

The Bible has a lot to say about Israel being God’s chosen people. But he loves and has a plan for all people. So why did God choose Israel?

The scriptures show very clearly that God of all nations chose Israel as the nation he would work with. This was the nation that God freed from slavery in Egypt, the nation to which God gave the land of Canaan, the nation through which Jesus the Messiah would come. Was there something special about these people that set them apart from others?

God Himself answered this question. Speaking to the ancient Israelites, he said: “You are a holy people to the Eternal, your God; the Eternal your God has chosen you to be a special people, more than all the peoples of the earth. Not because you are more than all the peoples, the Eternal has loved and chosen you, because you were the most insignificant of all the peoples; But since the Eternal loved you and wanted to fulfill the oath he made to your parents, the Eternal took you out with a mighty hand and saved you from the bondage of the king of Pharaoh in Egypt. ”(Deuteronomy 7: 6-8, emphasis added).

So why did God choose Israel? God chose the ancient Israelites because he had promised Abraham that their descendants would become a great nation and occupy the land of Canaan (Genesis 12: 3, 7; 17: 4, 7-8; 22:17). God blessed Abraham and his descendants because of Abraham’s faith, a living faith through which Abraham diligently followed God’s instructions and law (Genesis 26: 3-5). This promise was repeated to Abraham’s son Isaac and Jacob’s son Abraham (Gen. 17:21; 26:24; 28: 1-4, 13).

God’s purpose in choosing Israel was that they should be a model for the other nations and that through them “all the families of the earth” would be blessed (Genesis 12: 3). He wanted Israel to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19: 6). Other nations would see that when the Israelites obeyed God, they were blessed (v. 5), and when they did not obey God, they were punished (Deuteronomy 28).

Gentiles are welcome in the Old Testament

Although God chose to work with the ancient nation of Israel, this decision did not exclude people from other nations (Gentiles) from understanding God and serving Him. God instructed the ancient Israelites to respect the people of other nationalities who came to live with them.

Regarding the observance of Passover (one of the festivals ordained by God in both the Old and New Testaments), God said: “But if a foreigner lives with you and wants to celebrate the Passover to the Eternal, he will celebrate it, and it will be like one of your nation; but no uncircumcised man may eat of it ”(Exodus 12:48). Because He was impartial to everyone, God continued: “The same law will apply to the native and the stranger who sojourns among you” (v. 49). God later added, “You shall neither deceive nor repent of the stranger, because you were a stranger in Egypt” (Exodus 22:21).

A good example of God accepting the Gentiles in the Old Testament is found in the life of Ruth. Although she was a Moabite by birth (Ruth 1: 1-4), she came to respect and follow God. As Ruth told Naomi, her Israelite mother-in-law, after her husband’s untimely death: “Your people will be my people, and your God my God” (v. 16). So Ruth married an Israelite man named Boaz and became part of the family from which Jesus would come (Matthew 1: 1-16).

Gentiles are welcome to church

When the Holy Spirit was given to the followers of Jesus and the New Testament Church was founded on the day of Pentecost, the people of this first church were Jews (Acts 2: 5), one of the 12 tribes that made up ancient Israel. . Because God had specifically chosen and worked with their ancestors and now continued to do so, they considered themselves part of the “citizenship of Israel”, which gave them access to the “covenant of promise” (Ephesians 2:12).

These Jews who were the first Christians did not fully understand that God would also bring Gentiles to church. When God miraculously gave the Holy Spirit to a Gentile named Cornelius and his house, just as He had previously done to the Jews on the day of Pentecost, Peter and the members of the New Testament Church were able to understand that God was now calling to the gentiles.

The future of Israel

The ancient Israelites were taken captive for their sins and lost their national prominence, causing many to wonder why God chose Israel. Regardless, there is a bright future for these people. When Christ returns to this earth and establishes the kingdom of God, He will restore Israel to her position of leadership in the world (Isaiah 11:12; 14: 1-2). Then an obedient and humble people will play the role God assigned them.

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