Jewish tradition has taught that God made the covenant with Israel only because other nations rejected it first. Though there is no biblical evidence for that position, it does, however, help bring home the point that for whatever reasons the Lord chose the Hebrew nation, it was not because they were deserving of the high honor and privilege the Lord bestowed upon them.
They had no merit of their own that would make them worthy of God’s love and His choice of them as His people. They were few in number, a group of enslaved tribes, and politically and militarily weak. Plus, in terms of culture and religion, they were mixed, bland, and without much influence. The basic cause, then, for Israel’s election lay in the mystery of God’s love and grace.
At the same time, however, we need to be careful as we look at this idea of election, because it is fraught with the potential for theological misunderstanding. What did God choose Israel for? Was it to be redeemed, while everyone else was chosen to be rejected and lost? Or were they chosen to be vehicles who would offer the world what they had been offered? How do the following verses help us to understand the answers to these questions?
As Seventh-day Adventists, we like to view ourselves as the modern-day counterpart of Israel, called by the Lord, not to be the only ones redeemed but to proclaim the message of redemption, in the context of the three angels’ messages, to the world. In short, we believe we have something to say that no one else is saying. This is, basically, the situation with ancient Israel, as well. The purpose of Israel’s election was not to turn the Hebrew nation into some exclusive club, hoarding the promise of salvation and redemption for themselves. On the contrary, if we believe that Christ died for all humanity (Hebrews 2:9), then the redemption the Lord offered Israel was offered to the whole world as well. Israel was supposed to be the vehicle by which this redemption was to be made known. Our church has been called to do the same thing.
|Look at your own role in the church. What can you do to help promote the work that we have been called to do? Remember, if you are not actively helping, more than likely you are, to some degree, standing in the way.|