Dear Pastor Charles: I have a question for your article that I hope you can answer for me. I have asked several Pastors and have yet to received a satisfactory answer. My question is: Why are the Jews referred to as “God’s chosen people” when He clearly refers to them in the Bible as a “rebellious and stiff necked people?” It doesn’t seem fair to the Gentiles that God would choose one people over another. Thanks for your response. Wondering…
Thank you for your question as it is a good one. First, I would like to point out that God is omnipotent and can choose anyone He desires. Secondly, God did not choose a people, He chose a man, Abram. If you read your Scripture you will find that Abram was a Gentile. He was from the lineage of Shem and lived at Ur of the Chaldeans, which is on the Persian Gulf at the mouth of the Euphrates River in what is now called Iraq.
God called Abram out of Haran and made certain promises to him in Genesis 12:1-3, “The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So you see, God promised to bless all the peoples of the earth through him, not just the Jews.
The Jews came from Abraham’s offspring through his grandson Jacob, who’s name was changed to Israel in Genesis 35. It was through Jacob’s offspring, Judah, through whom the blessing for all the peoples of the earth would come. That blessing is none other than the “Lion of Judah”, the Lord Jesus Christ. So God literally fulfilled His promise to Abraham by sending His only begotten Son to die an atoning death for the sins of the entire world, not just the Jews.
I am quite sure that God could have used any group of people He wanted in order to bring forth the Savior. I am also quite sure that if He had chosen a race of people who were already corrupted with idolatry and immorality, He would have found it far more difficult to lead them than even than the “rebellious and stiff necked” people who came from Jacob’s seed. By the way, I would like to tell you a secret, but please don’t tell anyone. I am not a Jew but I have been just as rebellious and just as stiff necked as the Jews that were described in the Old Testament. I just thank God that He provides the grace for me to be forgiven whenever I come to Him in repentance.
The bottom line is this. The Bible says in Romans 3:9-12, “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one.”
Again, the Bible says in Galatians 3:28-29, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” So you see, God does not have any favorites. We are all lost sinners in need of a Savior.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Gentiles of the Ephesian Church, said in Ephesians 1:3-8 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” This passage is saying that before there existed a Jewish nation and even before the world was created, God chose us, those who accept the redemption of our sin by blood of Jesus Christ, to be His sons and daughters. How do you like that? Wonderful news is good for the soul, isn’t it?
I sincerely hope that I have answered your question to your satisfaction. My prayer for you is that you may understand the complete richness and peace that can only come from knowing who you are in Christ Jesus. May God richly bless and keep you as you ponder the fullness of His Word.