DEUTERONOMY 7: WHY DID GOD CHOOSE ISRAEL?
DID GOD CHOOSE ISRAEL BECAUSE THEY WERE BETTER THAN OTHER PEOPLE?
Why did God choose Israel? Deuteronomy 7 makes clear one reason why God did not choose Israel. Israel was not chosen to be God's treasured possession because they were greater, more numerous, or better than other nations (Deut 7:6-7).
Then why did God choose Israel? God wanted to choose out of the many nations of the earth a treasured possession (v. 6) and chose the fewest of all peoples. We can read this to mean the least powerful and insignificant, because that's still what humans do. If a nation is small, few in population, we consider it insignificant, but if the nation is big, numerous in population, we consider it important and powerful. No different then, so let's not fool ourselves about the language here and what it really means when using "numerous" and "few." It most likely means God did not choose Israel because of Israel's importance in the world.
The emphasis shifts to God's faithfulness to choose the small, insignificant Israel and make a great nation, a treasured possession, and God keeps the covenant promise to Israel sworn to Abraham. Deuteronomy reminds Israel that God has brought Israel out of slavery, another mark of oppression and insignificance of the people Israel.
KNOW THAT THE LORD YOUR GOD IS GOD
There's a big THEREFORE in Deut 7:9-10: "Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love Him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, and who repays in their own person those who reject him." This knowing that God is God leads to a very important next step.
NEXT STEP: RENOVARE ON HUMILITY
"God does not love Israel because it is strong, wise, numerous, or even more devout. Love does not have its reasons. Israel's special position and responsibility during the Old Testament period is a result of God's love, not Israel's character or ability. Realizing this should have led to humility. God's people today are called to this type of humility as well." --REVOVARE NRSV STUDY NOTE
PRAYER FOR HUMILITY
LORD, if we take for granted our "chosen" position and assume it's somehow because we are better than someone else, we ask that you humble us. This is a fearful prayer, because being humbled by you is not an exciting thought, but we believe the alternative is not acceptable, to be haughty and prideful about our status, as if we have been chosen to be followers of you because we are better, because our church is numerous, because we have better character than others, but none of those are the reasons why you have kept your covenant of love. You love us because you are the God who keeps promises, your covenant of love, and you want people of all nations, not just Israel, as your prized possession.
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey: A New Generation Church of Christ. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.