In the Middle East is the nation of Israel. It is the size of New Jersey and has, throughout the history of the world, played a critical role politically and religiously. What sets it apart from other Eastern countries is that it is referenced through the scriptures, as land given to the Jews, God’s chosen people. It wasn’t until 1947 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution allowing the formation of the Jewish state of Israel. Since that time, the region still is a hotbed of corruption, terrorism and wars.
“And what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land, before Your people whom You have redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, from nations and their gods? For You have established for Yourself Your people Israel as Your own people forever, and You, O Lord, have become their God” (2 Samuel 7:23-24).
“But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!’ , (Isaiah 43:1)
Clarence Haynes writes: “So often when you think of Israel you think in terms of a nation of people, which is what they are now, but that is not what they always were. When you read the book of Genesis one thing you will notice is that there is no nation of Israel, that is because it did not exist. For a moment, consider not a nation, but a man. The beginning of God’s promise to this nation did not start when they became a nation, it started from one man, Abraham.”
God chose Abram because He knew his heart. Abram was obedient to his Lord. He was honored when God called him to leave his country Haran, his people, and his father’s household to go to a land where God would lead him. He had no map and very little understanding of what would lie ahead. Abram didn’t barter or discuss the pros and cons of leaving everything but his possessions behind with God. He obeyed. Eventually, Abram and his wife Sarai settled in Canaan. God met him one evening, out side of his tent, and promised him land and future descendants greater than all the stars in the sky. He also said that Sarai would give birth to a baby from whose descendants would come the promised Savior, God’s Son, Jesus.
“The promises were spoken to Abraham and his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed, meaning one person, Christ. What I mean is this: The law introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise” (Galatians 3:16-18)
God proved His faithfulness to all mankind when, 2000 years later, God the Son was born, just as God had promised. Sinless Jesus, a Jew, was the only one who could pay the penalty for the sins of all humankind, past, present, and future. Jesus came to earth as a man and lived in Israel. He was born with a mission to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham as the seed, Savior, who would save the world. Jesus lived for 33 years speaking and teaching about God, forgiveness of sins, and the promise of Heaven for all who believe. When Jesus claimed to be God, He was arrested by the Jews for blasphemy and sentenced to death on a cross. His death fulfilled God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants, that God would send His Son to die for the sins of all humanity, whether Jew or gentile.
“The Lord had said to Abram, Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” “Genesis 12:1-3”.
When you think of the nation of Israel, even the very land where Israel sits, let it be a reminder that when God says something, he will do it. The Israelites are God’s chosen people because they represent God’s faithfulness to Abraham and His word.
“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 forefathers 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. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands” (Deuteronomy 7:7-9).
God’s hope for Israel was that they would be a people who would obey him, keep his covenants, and be God’s representatives on the earth. Israel would be a model of God’s way of living to the nations around them. His hope was that, through the witness of the Jews, many would put their trust in God.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
Why did God choose Israel to be his chosen people? Most importantly, to preserve the bloodline of our Savior who lived and died for the sins of humanity 2000 years after the covenant He made with Abraham. He died for not only for the Jews, but for all, including gentiles, who believe.
“That who ever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:15-17).