Across the Atlantic Ocean in the Middle East is the nation of Israel. The nation itself is about the size of New Jersey, but it’s played and continues to play an essential role in world history. Throughout the Bible, Israelites are called God’s chosen people. If you’re new to the faith, or even if you’re not, you may wonder why God chose Israel to be His chosen people. What’s so special about Israel that makes them different from any other nation?
The term itself implies that God surveyed all the nations on earth and said, “That’s the one I’ll choose.” However, that’s not how it happened, but the fact that they’re called God’s chosen people forces you to ask the question, “Why did God choose Israel to be His chosen people?” Hopefully, these reasons will make the reasoning clear.
God chose a man, not a nation.
When you think of Israel, you think in terms of a nation of people. That’s what they are now, but that’s not what they always were. In the book of Genesis, you’ll notice the nation of Israel doesn’t exist. The start of God’s promise to this nation didn’t start when they became a nation. It started with one man: Abraham. From this promise, detailed explicitly in Genesis 12:1-3, you see that God didn’t choose a nation; He chose Abraham and built a nation from him.
This point should be noted because it’s not like God randomly chose Israel. He made Israel into a great nation, which was a fulfillment of a promise made to Abraham. This doesn’t make Israel more special, but it makes God more remarkable because He keeps His promises. When you consider the nation of Israel, even the land where it sits, let it be a reminder that when God says something, He’ll do it. The Israelites were God’s chosen people because they represent God’s faithfulness to Abraham and that He kept His promise.
God needed a group to represent His character on earth.
Another reason why God chose Israel as His chosen people is because He needed someone to maintain His standards on earth. In Exodus 19:3-6, the Bible shares what God told Moses to say to the Israelites after they escaped Egypt. One of God’s purposes for Israel was that they would be a people who would keep His covenants and obey Him.
By doing so, they would be God’s earthly representatives and a model of God’s way of living to the nations around them. If you look at the covenant that was made, it was a conditional covenant. If they decided to walk in disobedience and forsake God’s law, which they did, they would forfeit many of the privileges and blessings that God offered them. However, the objective remained that God’s desire would be for this nation to be a holy nation set apart for His purpose.
God needed Jesus to come through a lineage and fulfill Genesis’ prophecy.
The final point as to why God chose Israel, and without a doubt the most crucial purpose for Israel, is that God was setting up Jesus’ lineage. This is the core of why God chose Israel as His chosen people. The coming of Jesus fulfilled a significant promise that God made to Abraham that everyone on the planet who’s living, who will live, or who has ever lived can benefit from. How is it possible that this small nation could bless all the people on earth? That reason is that from Abraham’s lineage, we get to Jesus, the Messiah.
It is in Jesus that this promise is fulfilled. It’s because of Jesus that the offer of salvation flows to every person and all people on the earth. Suppose you fast forward to the book of Revelation, specifically Revelation 12:9. In that case, there’s a scene where John sees people gathered around a throne and says there were people from every nation standing before the throne wearing white robes and holding palm branches. When God called Abraham in Genesis 12, He had Revelation 12 in mind. He didn’t have one nation in mind. Instead, He had all the world’s nations in mind.
In Jesus, we see the fulfillment of the promise made in Genesis, and we understand the result of this promise in Revelation. Notice that people from every nation, language, and tribe will one day gather around the throne and worship the Lamb. It’s safe to say this is an example of all the people on earth being blessed through Abraham’s seed.
From covenant to covenant, from promise to promise.
Thankfully, God’s promise didn’t stop with the nation of Israel. His faithfulness to keep His word isn’t only true for Israel; it’s true for you. If you’ve put your trust in Christ as your Savior, then you’re now God’s special possession. You’ve been called out of the darkness, and God has saved you so that you could be a light to lead people to Jesus. Like Israel, we were once not a people, but now we’re God’s people. Now, it’s our responsibility to uphold God’s standard on earth.
The beautiful thing is that this promise, like God’s promise to Abraham, will endure forever. Let the nation of Israel be a reminder that God is faithful, and He keeps His word. He will do what He said He would do. Why did God choose Israel as His chosen people? In the end, the cross of Calvary and Jesus dying on it is why, and it’s because of that same cross that God chose you to be His special possession.