But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light. 1 Peter 2:9
Abraham’s spiritual children have a special place in the heart of God. By His grace, He has chosen them to bear His image here on earth. And through His Son Christ Jesus, He will conform all who accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
Above All People (the Privilege of Holiness)
“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” Deuteronomy 7:6
God did not choose Israel because they were a great nation. He chose them by His grace.
“The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! 8 Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the Lord rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.” Deut. 7:7, 8
He chose them to be a holy nation and a blessing to the nations surrounding them.
“Look, I now teach you these decrees and regulations just as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy. 6 Obey them completely, and you will display your wisdom and intelligence among the surrounding nations. When they hear all these decrees, they will exclaim, ‘How wise and prudent are the people of this great nation!’ 7 For what great nation has a god as near to them as the Lord our God is near to us whenever we call on him? 8 And what great nation has decrees and regulations as righteous and fair as this body of instructions that I am giving you today? Deut. 4:5-8
He forbade intermarriage with heathen worshippers. They were to be a SEPARATE people.
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are greater and more numerous than you. 2 When the Lord your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy[a] them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. 3 You must not intermarry with them. Do not let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters, 4 for they will lead your children away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and he will quickly destroy you. 5 This is what you must do. You must break down their pagan altars and shatter their sacred pillars. Cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols. 6 For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure. Deuteronomy 7:1-6
Be not high minded, but fear. Romans 11:20
“The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land.” Genesis 35:12
See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give to them and their descendants after them.’ Deuteronomy 1:8
To have a kingdom, 2 things are needed:
- A Territory (Land).
- Citizens (Subjects).
God chose Israel to be His subjects and He promised them a land – Canaan. Delivered from bondage, as they lived under His rule, they would be a righteous and holy nation, exalted among all the nations of the earth.
Israel and the Covenant (Covenant Obligations)
- We know that a covenant is a contract or agreement between two or more parties.
- The initiating party describes himself and what He has done… ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.’ Exodus 19:4
- There is a list of obligations between the two (or more) parties…. ‘Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. 6 And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ Exo. 19:5, 6
- There are rewards and punishments that govern the keeping and breaking of the covenant… ‘By entering into the covenant today, he will establish you as his people and confirm that he is your God, just as he promised you and as he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But you are not the only ones with whom I am making this covenant with its curses. 15 I am making this covenant both with you who stand here today in the presence of the Lord our God, and also with the future generations who are not standing here today. You remember how we lived in the land of Egypt and how we traveled through the lands of enemy nations as we left. You have seen their detestable practices and their idols[d] made of wood, stone, silver, and gold. 18 I am making this covenant with you so that no one among you—no man, woman, clan, or tribe—will turn away from the Lord our God to worship these gods of other nations, and so that no root among you bears bitter and poisonous fruit. Those who hear the warnings of this curse should not congratulate themselves, thinking, ‘I am safe, even though I am following the desires of my own stubborn heart.’ This would lead to utter ruin! 20 The Lord will never pardon such people. Instead his anger and jealousy will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will come down on them, and the Lord will erase their names from under heaven. 21 The Lord will separate them from all the tribes of Israel, to pour out on them all the curses of the covenant recorded in this Book of Instruction. Then the generations to come, both your own descendants and the foreigners who come from distant lands, will see the devastation of the land and the diseases the Lord inflicts on it. 23 They will exclaim, ‘The whole land is devastated by sulfur and salt. It is a wasteland with nothing planted and nothing growing, not even a blade of grass.’ Deut. 29:13-23
The history of Israel reminds that Israel was unfaithful to the covenant…all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful. They followed all the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, desecrating the Temple of the Lord that had been consecrated in Jerusalem.
The Lord, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. 16 But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done. So the Lord brought the king of Babylon against them. The Babylonians killed Judah’s young men, even chasing after them into the Temple. They had no pity on the people, killing both young men and young women, the old and the infirm. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. 18 The king took home to Babylon all the articles, large and small, used in the Temple of God, and the treasures from both the Lord’s Temple and from the palace of the king and his officials. 19 Then his army burned the Temple of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces, and completely destroyed everything of value. The few who survived were taken as exiles to Babylon, and they became servants to the king and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 2 Chronicles 36:14-20
Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. Galatians 6:7, 8
In every age, when God’s people have been unfaithful to Him, there has remained a faithful remnant. Abraham’s seed – the spiritual children of Abraham in the church who live by faith alone in the doing and dying of Christ Jesus will proclaim the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ and invite men and women to follow Him; they will do this even at the cost of their lives, for Satan always seeks to pervert the true gospel and will be angry with the remnant.
And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest (remnant) of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus. Revelation 12:17 (NLT)
For Reflection: Do I want to belong to the remnant people of God?
We need to bear in mind one of the concepts in election: ‘The election of one for the blessing of many’.
So God chose one nation for the blessing of many nations. See Deuteronomy 4:5-8, Isaiah 60:1-3
God chose one Man, Christ Jesus for the blessing of the many. See Isaiah 49:6, Romans 5:12-19
The Jews failed in their mission to be a blessing to the Gentiles. God intended that the Gentiles would be drawn to God by the witness of the Jews – their faithfulness to God resulting in blessings to themselves and glory to God.
The recovery of believing Jews i.e. not just a Jew who is genetically a Jew, but who is one ‘inwardly, whose circumcision is of the heart, in the Spirit and not in the letter…’ Romans 2:29 will lead to the fullness of the true Israel of God.
The true Israel of God is the Church, the body of believers who have a covenant relationship with God. This body is the ‘true circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.’ Philippians 3:3
That which God purposed to do for the world through Israel, the chosen nation, He will finally accomplish through His church on earth today. He has “let out His vineyard  unto other husbandmen,” even to His covenant-keeping people, who faithfully “render Him the fruits in their seasons.” Never has the Lord been without true representatives on this earth who have made His interests their own. These witnesses for God are numbered among the spiritual Israel, and to them will be fulfilled all the covenant promises made by Jehovah to His ancient people.
Today the church of God is free to carry forward to completion the divine plan for the salvation of a lost race. Prophets and Kings p 713, 714