An old limerick goes, “How odd, of God, to Choose, the Jews.” Not odd at all. Merely the fulfillment of promises made to the Patriarchs. The Jews as the Chosen People has been a source for a bit of anti-Semitism over the centuries, and, to be fair, a source of false pride for some Jews.
In my experience, most nominal Jews, as with most nominal Christians (by “nominal I mean those born into the faith but with little depth of belief or participation), don’t realize that to have been chosen by God was not due to any particular merits of the ancient Israelites. Just as we who are ancient Israel’s spiritual descendants are saved solely by God’s grace, not by virtue of our own merit.
From Deuteronomy 7, God is telling the Israelites rather directly that they were chosen
6 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.
And so the people Israel, with varying degrees of success, kept the Law. Until God saw that it was the right moment in human history to further reveal Himself by becoming one of us. Serving TDY (Temporary DutY) here on earth, as it were. And by putting paid to our sins, once, and for all. For those who were chosen. Who God knew, from eons before He gave Moses the Torah, would be “his treasured possession.”
| technorati tag | Christianity|