The Judean WildernessAs Christians, we read in the Hebrew Scriptures (which we refer to, somewhat incorrectly, as the Old Testament) that the children of Israel were God’s “chosen” people. This “chosen”-ness often accompanies confusion, as Christians read it. Chosen for what? Too often, I hear people assume that this “chosen”-ness means that, before Christ, all men apart from Israel were hell-bound. This is a sadly mistaken interpretation, as there is no emphasis on the afterlife in the sciptures, prior to the arrival of Christ.

So, then, what were the Israelites chosen for? Perhaps we should begin with the first usage of “chosen” in scripture for a clue:

Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him. Genesis 18:18-19

So here, we find that Abraham was chosen so that a) he and his descendants would keep to the way of the LORD; so that b) the LORD would bring about His promises. What were these promises (in relation to mission)?

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. Genesis 12:2-3

So here we have a double-statement of the same promise. God will bless Abraham and his descendants in order that they will be a blessing to all peoples on the earth. They are blessed to be a blessing. This is then reiterated as a promise after Abraham is tested in his willingness to give up his only son, Isaac.

I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me. Genesis 22:16-18

So, once again, Abraham’s descendants are promised to be numerous so that all nations on earth will be blessed. Here again, they are blessed so that they will be a blessing.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, September 27th, 2007 at 1:33 pm and is filed under Linked Articles, Theology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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  1. CRN.Info and Analysis » Chosen: To What Purpose? Part III - Salvation and Kingdom    Nov 16 2007 / 3pm:

    [...] In Part I and Part II of this series, we examined the purpose of God’s people throughout history, both before and after the coming of Jesus. That purpose can be summed up as being a) to be light, in order to b) give light, so that c) the whole world will know that our God is the One True God. [...]