Understanding God’s purpose for Israel
The modern day student of the Bible may well ask why so much of Scripture is taken up with the history of a single nation. Certainly many Christians wonder why only one nation should be called “God’s chosen people.”
The answer to this question is bound up in God’s purpose for Israel. When God promised Abraham that he would become the father of a great nation, He also promised that He would bless all people through that nation, Genesis 12:1-3, Now the Lord had said to Abram: Get out or your country, from your kindred and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you, I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
This covenant from God with Abraham provides for blessings in three areas: (1) national- “I will make you a great nation,” (2) personal- “I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing,” and (3) universal- “in you all families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Therefore Israel was to be a channel of blessing as well as a recipient. Even their deliverance from Egypt was partially designed to show other nations that Israel’s God was the only true God. Exodus 7:5 “And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.” Even the testimony of a harlot named Rahab(see Joshua 2:9-10) knew what Israel’s God had done.
It was further prophesied by Isaiah that the Messiah would bring salvation to the Gentiles (Isaiah 49:6)-indeed He says, “It is too small a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel, I will also give you as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be my Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel, I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.” Also in the Psalms there are many invitations to other nations to come and worship the Lord of Israel. Psalm 2:10-11 “Now therefore be wise, O Kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Ruth the Moabites is an example of a foreigner who believed in Israel’s God. Because of Ruth’s devotion to Naomi and kindness she was respected by Boaz. Later, Ruth and Boaz were married. God honored their kindness by allowing them to be the ancestors of King David (Ruth was a great grandmother to David) and eventually ancestors of Jesus himself (see Ruth chapter four).
It is clear that God’s promise to Abraham to bless the whole world through him is still being fulfilled. The life, ministry and death of Jesus Christ, and the existence and influence of the church today, all came about through God’s choice of Israel.
All whom the church wins to Christ, whether Jew or Gentile enter into those great blessings channeled through Israel.
Jesus supported the principle that God blesses the Gentiles through the Jewish people when He said, “salvation of the Jews” (John 4:22). It was the Jewish people who gave the Gentiles the Word of God, the patriarchs, the prophets, Jesus and the apostles.
Remove the Jewish contribution from Christianity and there would be no Christianity.
God does bless those who bless Israel- from my heart.