May 3 I Thursday
1 Kings 14-15
“The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors…”
In Genesis 12, God made a promise to Abraham that he would become the father of a great nation. This nation was Israel, unique from the rest of the world as the chosen people of God, but this begs these questions: What were they chosen for? How did Israel benefit from being chosen, and why did God choose to set apart a people for Himself? To answer the first question, the initial promise God made to Abraham included that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3). Israel was not chosen so they could hoard God’s blessings, but so that in being blessed they could bless the rest of the world.
Paul lists the benefits Israel received from being God’s chosen people. He writes, “Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, for ever praised!”(Romans 9:4-5). The first seven of these benefits are all preparation for the eighth. Israel’s unique status before God—its promises, rituals, ancestry and history—were all building up to the advent of Christ.
God’s choosing of Israel was a means to an end, not an end in itself. Christ’s coming was the fulfillment of why Israel had been chosen, for He is the ultimate means by which the world has been blessed. Paul affirms this in Galatians 3:16, stating, “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say ‘and to his seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ.” It was not the nation of Israel that was to bless the world, but Christ, born into the chosen people, who would bless the world through His ultimate sacrifice on the cross.
Israel was able to point people to God, but it could not offer the world salvation, let alone save itself. God gave the sacrificial system to the Israelites to temporarily cover their sin, but these blood sacrifices were inadequate to appease the just wrath of God. The blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin; only the blood of Christ can do that. We learn from the history of Israel that being the chosen people of God has nothing to do with salvation. Rather, the chosen people are the vehicle through which God fulfills His purposes in the world, the greatest of which was fulfilled in the coming of Christ, the Messiah
“…chosen by God and precious to Him” (1 Peter 2:4).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Israel and for the culmination of its history in the coming of Your Son. Thank You especially for the gift of salvation to all who believe in Him.