Summary: For millennia the Jews have suffered oppression, slavery, genocide and many, many more hardships to numerous to list. Yet the Bible records them as being the chosen people. Just what they have been chosen for?
The Chosen People
1 Please Pass the Patriarchs
Last week I presented a message called The Right Place at the Right Time. I was using the life story of Jacob in the bible to illustrate how some of us try to put ourselves in what we think is the right place at the right time rather than leave the planning of our lives to God.
We learned that even with all Jacobs scheming and planning God had set aside a right place and a right time to confront Jacob about his life. Jacob had mistakenly thought that he needed to orchestrate his life to fit a certain set of circumstances in order to receive a birthright and a blessing from God. But God met Jacob at a place and at a time that Jacob had not planned. Jacob wrestled with God all night and finally was released at daybreak and was given a new name Israel.
Some of you really enjoyed those facts from Jacobs life so I thought I should use the opportunity to do a series of messages on The Chosen People.
In the coming weeks we will discover how they came to be chosen and just what that involved. We will also look at the origins of the Jewish faith and its leaders so that we can better understand how we are linked to them through Gods covenant as the Chosen People.
These are more teaching messages than preaching messages but they still have lessons that we can all apply to our lives. I am going to try to keep things fresh and interesting as together we retrace our Jewish roots in the Old Testament. Today we say Please Pass the Patriarchs like you would say please pass the salt or the pepper at the table. You will see that the lives of the Patriarchs provide real spice to life.
Last week I was approached by a coworker who is a Christian. He knows I am a preacher so he started a conversation about the Chosen People. He mentioned that old movie The Fiddler on the Roof by Norman Jewison
In that story a peasant farmer living is Eastern Europe at the turn of the 19th century is faced with many problems. His name is Tevye. He has five daughters not sons but five daughters and he is trying to work a dairy farm. He is a Jew and the country he is living in does not like the Jews.
He is dirt poor and life is a constant struggle. His horse constantly goes lame and he has to pull his milk wagon himself to make his deliveries. His wife of 25 years always had hoped for the finer things in life but that was not her destiny. All he wants is good husbands for his five daughters.
Tevye talks to God all the time. He saves his truly intimate conversations with God for the barn. One day while in the barn he looks up and asks God a series of questions. He says.... God I know you made many poor people but would it be such a sin if I had a small fortune? I know we are called the chosen people but once in a while could you choose someone else.
There is a lot of honesty in what this fictional character is saying. For millennia the Jews have suffered oppression, slavery, genocide and many, many more hardships to numerous to list. Yet the Bible records them as being the chosen people.
They and the world sometimes wonder just what they have been chosen for. Were they chosen to be an example of suffering while hanging tenaciously to their faith? Were they chosen as an example of how not to be religious? Were they chosen to be ridiculed for their faith? It does make one wonder.
So who got chosen? Well back to the Bible we see the story unfold in the book of Genesis. God chose Moses to be a prophet and God chose Abram to be the father of Isaac who would be the father of Jacob who would one day be known as Israel.
Many people assume that the Moses is a patriarch of the Jewish faith since he is the one who gave us the Ten Commandments. That is an honest conclusion but it is not the case. Moses is referred to as The Prophet of God or the Deliverer. He delivered the people from slavery and delivered Gods word or law to the people.
The Jewish Virtual Library records Moses as a prophet and not a patriarch of the faith.
In Genesis 12 we read the calling of Abram and the making of the Abrahamic Covenant. The calling is really the act of God choosing a person to follow Him. That person is Abraham.