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Why did God choose Israel?

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Why did God choose Israel? Empty Why did God choose Israel?

Post  Admin on Tue 30 Jul 2019, 6:31 pm

Why did God choose Israel?
Why did God choose Israel? 12_29j10

The very idea that God could choose the people of Israel over all the others offends sensibilities and can be hard to swallow. Both Jew and Gentile alike have been known to puzzle at this apparent favouritism. How are to we believe that God is just and loves everyone, but at the same time “sets his affection” on one people group in particular? And how are we supposed align ourselves with this way of thinking?

“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 7:6-8)

his theme of his passionate love for his people is repeated throughout the whole Bible – sometimes with conditions such as following the law, and sometimes in spite of their breaking all the conditions. He refers to Israel as his “special treasure” (סגולה) and the “apple of his eye” (בבת עיניו) among other tender and affectionate designations. His anger and fury is aroused if they are hurt, and their unfaithfulness pains him like no other.

And this is not even thrown out of the window on the safe arrival of Yeshua the Messiah. He states that he was sent to “the lost sheep of Israel”, and Paul says the gospel should go first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. We see God’s distinct choice of Israel right to the end of Revelation, because his calling and gifts are irrevocable (Romans 11:28-29).

How are we to align ourselves with this passion of God’s heart, when it seems contrary to our sense of justice and fair play? Indeed, contrary to God’s revealed heart for every nation, and his declared lack of favouritism? (“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism”, declared Peter in Acts 10:34).

Lord, Couldn’t You Choose Someone Else?
We often think of God’s choice of Israel as an honour and privilege, but it also carries a heavy responsibility. More than one Jewish person has verbally wished that the choice had landed on another people group instead. God warns Israel,

“You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.” (Amos 3:1-2)

God calls Israel to a higher standard, precisely because of his unique revelation and choice of them. Just as a judge might “make an example” out of a criminal, Israel serves as an example and a lesson to the world. The curses and punishments in Deuteronomy promised to Israel if they fail are eye-watering in their severity and extremity.

Psalm 147 declares:

“He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation.” 

God wanted us all to have access to the scriptures – the “oracles of God’ as Paul calls them – the precious words of God to the world. He also wanted to bring his Messiah into the world through a people group. Through humanity itself. A personal delivery. The Jewish people are trustees, guardians and messengers of these gifts to the world.

Israel may be the nation that was chosen, but they have been chosen for a reason.
The reason is not merited by themselves, but God’s reason is to bless all the nations on the earth.

God wanted a ‘flagship’ nation that was an example to the world – not of how they behave, but of how he behaves.
We can learn by observing the twists and turns of the love story between God and Israel what kind of character it is that we are following. We can see his faithfulness. We can see his standards. We can see his compassionate love and mercy, as well as his jealousy and wrath when he is rejected for other lovers.

The Bible cannot be understood without appreciating the place of Israel in his grand scheme – from beginning to end. Indeed, looking through the lens of his dealings with Israel is like a key that unlocks the scriptures.

However, a cursory glance backwards through history shows how time and time again, while the people of Israel may be the object of God’s undying affection, they are also targeted for special hatred – the unquenchable, Satanic drive to annihilate them continues throughout the generations. It is enough to make anyone envious of the chosen people retreat from that position with gratitude.

Appreciating Diversity
Part of our problem is that we have bought the lie that uniformity is good.

Paul writes to the Galatians that there is no longer “Jew nor Greek” (3:28), but then he also says there is no “male nor female”, so we understand that he does not mean those identities vanish when we come to faith, but rather that we are all equally valuable in God’s sight. Our identity in the flesh does not give us preferential treatment or diminish our status before God. Clearly, we remain either male or female, and our gender is part of who God created us to be – these differences are roles, and functions in God’s created order which we can either respect or ignore. As time goes by, in the drive for equality, the human race is confusing difference with value and denying the differences that God has put in place, thinking that if we are different then one must be better than the other. This is a mistake. The fact that we can be different but equally precious is a truth that the enemy is trying to hide.

We see this strategy insidiously contaminating many areas of life – we must be the same – we must have the same – we must look the same. This is not the will, nor is it the purpose or the desire of God. We just have to consider the flora and fauna around us to see how God takes great delight in variety working in harmony together, and then compare that with Communist apartment blocks that drown out any hint of individuality with a monotonous, monochrome drone.

God’s creation of each individual is unique, and his plans for us are also tailor-made. We often fall into the trap of thinking “But everyone else…” and believing that we are therefore rightfully due the same. After his resurrection, Jesus has a conversation with Peter about his future. He bestows great honour upon him but also gives him a heads-up about his painful end. Peter immediately looks over at John…

When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Yeshua answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:21-22)

Jesus tells Peter, and all those who read these words, that we are not to look at others and insist on identical treatment, but to accept the privileges we receive from God with understanding – and also the challenges that he has uniquely put before us. His path for each one of us is different. It’s hard not to compare, but the Body of Messiah depends upon each one embracing their unique calling, giftings, privileges and responsibilities, and celebrating those of others (1 Corinthians 12).

In other words, we must not covet the package that others have got. Following this commandment means learning to be satisfied and content with what God chooses for us, and not begrudging what he chooses for others. Even graciously rejoicing in the blessing of others, and appreciating their contribution. A deepening trust in God’s sovereign plan and his perfect goodness to us can help us accept the differences we see – to steward our privileges well and generously, and to humbly accept the difficulties we experience that others seem to escape from Scott-free. It is a command against the greed and bitterness that we so easily fall into.

This can only be done when we truly believe that God really loves us. Satan whispers to us that God is rejecting us, that he prefers another, that someone else is getting better treatment and that we are losing out. But these too are lies. We need faith to believe in God’s goodness to the whole world, and every individual in it. He loves each one passionately, but he has different plans and a different relationship with each of us.

Joining God’s Heart For Israel
If we believe God is loving and wise, we must trust God with his choice of Israel. We can rejoice in God’s divine plans for us all, enjoying what God has chosen for us to its full extent without believing that we are any less esteemed at all. It’s a beautiful thing to forego a demanding attitude that insists on exactly the same treatment for all, and is ready instead to draw alongside our Father God – to join him and and share his heart for his people. It requires that we refuse to believe the lie that we are rejected or second best – or that God’s grace and favour must be merited. All those who have come to love the God of Israel and have been forgiven by Yeshua the Messiah have been brought into the commonwealth of Israel to share in God’s riches, and have been grafted into the chosen people. Ephesians 2:12-13 says,

“At that time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.“

We all have equal standing before God and free access to the Father through his son, Yeshua. Yet the tribes of Israel are still there right to the end of Revelation, just as God promised that they always would be (Romans 9-11, Jeremiah 31:35-36). It is easy to see the unique role that God had for Israel in the past, bringing us the Scriptures and the Messiah, the story of God… but we have the amazing privilege today of seeing God’s faithfulness in action as we see his ancient promises to Israel coming to pass before our eyes today.

Israel was, and still is, like a fuzzy felt illustration to the rest of the world to teach us what God is like. He will not give up on Israel, he will not renege on his promises (despite Israel’s unfaithfulness), and if he says he will do something, he will do it. Israel is our concrete proof of this truth, and will continue to testify to the certainty of God’s word by being a living example of it. The fact that God is a covenant-keeping God is good news for everyone.

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Why did God choose Israel? AncienttreeWoodlandtrust

Grafted In
By ONE FOR ISRAEL (Messianic Jews In Israel)
If anyone has been converted from one thing to another, it is Gentiles who have been converted to the Jewish faith in the God of Israel. They have adopted the Jewish holy Scriptures, the Jewish understanding of God and his ways, and have been accepted and saved by the Jewish Messiah. It is Gentiles who have left paganism with false ideas of God (or gods) into the truth about the One Living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who made heaven and earth, as revealed in the Jewish Scriptures.

The book of Romans likens this Gentile “conversion” to the agricultural grafting process:

“And you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree… remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.” (11:17-18)

It makes no sense to talk of a Jewish person being converted. It has been their faith all along, if you believe that Yeshua is the Messiah spoken of in the Hebrew Scriptures.

The faith is rooted in Judaism. When a Jewish person accepts Yeshua they have a fuller understanding of their own faith, not somebody else’s. And that is what we in ONE FOR ISRAEL are seeking to see.

At the beginning, the early believers were entirely Jewish. The disciples were all Jewish, the leaders were Jewish, the teaching was Jewish, and they were focusing only on Jews as their audience (Acts 11:19). The disciples were first known as “Christians” in Antioch (Acts 11:26) when Gentiles had also been brought into the kingdom. Were these “Christians” only Gentile? No. Did they believe something different theologically? No. Their sense of duty towards the law might have been different, but the New Testament is full of the message of freedom and a new way of relating to God. It is the new wineskin, and the old wineskin would burst if you put the new wine into it.

Although we know that every word of the Law still stands and has been fulfilled in Yeshua, it is a struggle today, as it was back in Acts, to understand to what extent Jews and Gentiles who believe in Yeshua should be obliged to the mitzvot of the Torah. There are a variety different perspectives on this, but suffice to say that the New Testament emphasises freedom of conscience (see Galatians, 1 Corinthians, Acts) over forcing your own convictions on others. In Galatians 3 Paul talks about the law as a guardian, keeping custody over the Jewish people until the Messiah came:

“Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Messiah came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

He then goes on to say this famous assertion of inclusivity:

“So in Yeshua the Messiah you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Yeshua the Messiah. If you belong to the Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Now, I am a woman, and just because I belong to Yeshua does not mean that I am no longer a woman. I still very much a woman! But my standing before Father God is no less than that of a man.

Our gender identity remains, and so does our ethnic identity. Jews and Gentiles remain as they were born (despite the foolishness of Gentiles trying to be Jewish and Jewish believers being wrongly told that they are now Gentiles) but our right to stand in the presence of our Father is equal because of Yeshua.

We can rejoice in the identity God gave us, knowing that we have been made ONE BODY together in Messiah. Men and women do not lose their gender because they have been made one flesh in marriage – rather it is their difference that makes their union so glorious, and Jews and Gentiles do not lose their ethnic identity because they have been made one body in Messiah. It is a glory and a marvel that God has brought us together as one.

Again, in Ephesians 2:14-18 shows us God’s plan, desire and intention that we would be ONE:

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

What God has joined together, let not man separate! Years of persecution at the hands of the church has made it difficult for Jewish believers to call themselves “Christian” but God does not see two different streams in his body. He sees one body. We might have different culture and terminology but the essence of our beliefs and the basis of our salvation is exactly the same. Gentiles have been grafted in and are in the same tree. Not a different one.

It is God’s desire to reach out to all nations with salvation and his way of accomplishing that was through the people of Israel carrying the Scriptures, the experiences and the precious Seed of God. It is through the Jews that salvation has come, but this salvation brings us all into the one root, as he purposed from the beginning of time.

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