Why did God choose Israel to be His Chosen People?
The Bible reveals that God specifically chose the nation of Israel to be His chosen people. Almost the entire Old Testament is dedicated to telling stories which describe the roller coaster relationship between God and the Jews.
God had chosen Israel as His people for various reasons whilst expecting Israel’s unwavering worship and commitment to His law. However on many occasions God’s chosen nation would backslide, break His commandments and fall into idol worship.
So out of many other nations or nationalities, why did God select Israel to be His chosen people? Furthermore, since God chose Israel, does it mean that God does not equally love people of other nationalities?
1. The birth of the nation of Israel is rooted in Abraham
The birth of a nation first began with a single man, Abraham, who put his total faith in God. When God saw Abraham’s faith, God promised him that from his family would come an entire nation. This nation would eventually become Israel.
Genesis 12:1-2 says: Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing”
This promise was further repeated to Abraham’s son, Isaac, and to Abraham’s grandson, Jacob (Genesis 17:21; Genesis 26:24; Genesis 28:1-4, 13).
In Exodus 6:7-8NLT God says to Moses: “I will claim you as My own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. 8 I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!'”
2. God selected Israel to be an Example to other nations
God selected Israel whilst they were still slaves in Egypt and without their own land. God did not choose them because they were strong, bigger or better than other nations. Instead God chose them and set Israel apart from other nations whilst they were in slavery in Egypt. God chose them to keep the oath He swore to their ancestors who were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 6:2-8).
Furthermore while many other nations such as Egypt worshipped false gods and idols – Yahweh, the one true living God selected the Israelites to become His chosen people so that He may use them as a model nation to reveal His holy nature and character to the rest of the world (2 Samuel 7:23-24).
Deuteronomy 7:6-9NLT says: 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. 7 “The Lord did not set His heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! 8 Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you, and He was keeping the oath He had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the Lord rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
Even today, when we read the Bible, we can learn so much about God’s character and nature by studying the stories of God’s relationship with the people of Israel.
Therefore God also chose the nation of Israel to be a blessing to other nations by revealing Yahweh, the one true God. God’s desire for Israel was for them to be a nation of servants of God who would minister and teach the rest of the world about God through their values, lifestyle and worship as a nation and people.
The Scriptures also reveal that Israel is not a perfect nation with perfect people despite being God’s chosen people. However it is through their up-and-down relationship with God that we can draw parallels with our own lives in how we relate with God.
We are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and we do not perfectly relate with God. There is no perfect nation. Our own individual lives are not perfect too. We all need God, even when we think we do not need Him.
Just as He did with Israel, God similarly desires to be King to all people of all nationalities, and to rule in our lives.
Just as with Israel, God is patient and gracious towards us, even when we sin. He will reward us when we obey Him and follow Him. However there are consequences when we do not repent and choose to abandon God or exclude Him from our life.
3. God chose the nation of Israel to be the people through whom Jesus Christ would be born
Jesus Christ came into the world as a Jew. God decided that Jesus Christ, the Messiah would come through the nation of Israel (Matthew 1:1-25).
Jesus did not only come for the Jews but He also came to save the entire world from sin. Jesus Christ is not only the Messiah for the nation of Israel, but He is also the Messiah for anyone of any nationality who chooses to believe in Him and receive Him through faith as Lord and Savior.
John 3:16-17 reads: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
Therefore even though God may have specifically chosen Israel, the same God has the same purpose and desire for every nationality, which is to seek the salvation of every soul in the world.
Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His blood and then resurrected on the third day to prove His victory over sin and death. His sacrifice on the cross for our sins extended to the whole world and not just the Jews.
1 John 2:2 reads: He (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Without the nation of Israel, there would be no moral law such as the Ten Commandments; no Bible to reveal the nature, character, plans and works of God; no Gospel through which the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ could be revealed. Jesus Christ Himself was born as a Jew but His purpose was to bless not only the Jews, but also bless the rest of the world by offering salvation as a free gift to all who believe and receive Him as the Messiah (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16).
So in the Scriptures, God specifically used the nation of Israel to carry out His divine plans for both Israel and the rest of the world.
Even today in our modern times, God still has plans that He wants to fulfill for the nation of Israel and none of God’s plans can be stopped. Israel still has a role to play in the end times according to Scripture. So the nation of Israel is still integral to God’s divine work and plan in our world.