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Written by Ángel Manuel Rodríguez
Why did God choose the nation of Israel, and not another?
This is an area of biblical study in which the Bible provides some important information.
1. ELECTION OF ABRAM
In order to gain a better understanding of the call of Abram (Gen. 12:1-3), we should place it within the context of post-Flood events. After the flood the new beginning of the human race was soon damaged when human pride sought self-preservation (Gen. 11:4). Out of that spiritual corruption the nations of the earth originated. In that setting God did not allow the condition of the nations to thwart or make His plan ineffective. If He could not use the nations of the earth to accomplish His universal purpose, then He was ready to create a new nation through which His saving purpose would be accomplished.
This new creation did not imply the rejection of the nations; on the contrary, it revealed God’s deep concern for them. The election of Abram was God’s first step in the creation of a people through which He would bless all the nations of the earth. Grace was available for humans independent of nationality or race. Therefore the election of Israel was about inclusivity. This is shown in God’s choosing of Egypt as the place where the 12 tribes became a great people. Egypt was the “womb” within which Israel increased and was finally born through the Exodus. Disgracefully, Egypt, instead of cooperating with the Lord, opposed Him, with catastrophic results. It is finally at Sinai that the 12 tribes became the people of God and Yahweh their God.
2. ALL BY GRACE
Israel could not claim superiority over the nations based on its election, because election was deeply grounded on a divine grace that constituted them into servants of the nations (Ex. 19:6). God made it clear that He did not choose Israel because it was a large nation, but because they were “the fewest of all peoples” (Deut. 7:7, NIV). They were chosen because God was fulfilling the promises He made to the patriarchs: “The Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations” (Deut. 10:15, NIV). Election takes place in the context of divine love and grace, not on the merits of the people.
3. DIVINE PURPOSE
The new nation, created out of God’s love and grace, had a God-given purpose: The blessing of all nations of the earth. Israel was entrusted with God’s blessings for the nations, particularly through the promise and future arrival of the Messiah. The people of God kept alive the promise that God gave to Adam and Eve concerning the coming messianic Son, until His arrival as the incarnated Son announcing salvation to the nations of the earth (Luke 2:30, 31). He also entrusted to Israel His divine plan to establish a kingdom that will never perish, restoring peace and harmony on the earth. Paul summarizes the divine goal for Israel: “Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen” (Rom. 9:4, 5, NIV). All these gifts were entrusted to the Israelites but designed for the human race. We are part of that wonderful manifestation of grace and love.