3.12 God's Treasured Possession

 In Exodus, God provides His people with their new identity. Ex 19:4-6 sets the context for the 10 Commandments of Ex 20:

          "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself.   Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,  you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Ex 19:4-6).

There are 5 assertions in this passage:

          a.  Israel saw the judgment of Egypt
          b.  Israel has been brought to a place of meeting with God
          c.  If they keep the covenant --
          d.  Israel will be God's treasured possession out of all the earth
          e.  and a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

         

Here, God was doing something new, He was not referring to the patriarchal promises, but to Israel's own recent history.   He made new promises concerning Israel: they would be His treasured possession, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  As man is the crown of God's creation, so Israel was to be the crown of the nations.  Like the tribe of Levi in the midst of Israel, so was Israel amongst the peoples of the earth -- the priests of mankind.   As lavish as were the promises of God to Abraham about his descendants, these few words far exceeded them.  Prior to this, Israel was to be numerous, inherit the land of Canaan, and be victorious over their enemies.  Now the whole nation was to be holy, and set apart as priests of God.

          

This promise is an affront to modern notions of brotherhood and the equality of man.  In fact, it even smacks of the "overman" or "superman" of Nietzche or Hitler, but that is because modern supremacists derived some of their fantasies from debasing the Biblical prototype.  Traditionally, many Christians advocated anti-Semitism ostensibly because "the Jews killed Christ."  Yet a more likely source of their hostility is jealousy for the exalted status accorded Jews by God in this passage.  The anti-Semitism of some strains of humanism takes a different tack.  By rejecting the authority of the Bible, humanism levels the playing field -- Jews are no different than the rest of mankind. Enlightened humanism decries the persecution of the Jews, while at the same time stripping them of their birthright of pre-eminence among mankind.  This attitude of compassionate tolerance and rigorous equality rejects the Biblical value of Israel.   Therefore, the repudiation of this passage is universal throughout history.  All races, all ideologies, all historical periods, deny the promises God made to Israel to be His treasured possession.

            

The Bible itself gives us an accurate parable:  there were 11 nations, all from one Father.  The Father chose one son, the youngest, as His favorite and gave him a special promise as a pledge of His favor.  The other 10 nations immediately conspired against him.  Most wanted to kill him, but some were content to strip him of His sign of election, enslave him, sell him for money and banish him forever from their midst.  Yes, Israel has played Joseph throughout history, and the succeeding world political regimes  have been the jealous brothers.  It is so in our own day.  The democratic nations are content with enfeebling  Israel, getting it to accept some form of mandated subservience to the modern Pharaoh, the United Nations.  The German and Islamic peoples preferred the method of annihilation.

           

This observation is not intended to support the modern state of Israel or endorse its policies towards its neighbors, it is merely to assert the general rejection of God's appointment of Israel as His treasured possession among the nations.  Most secular Israelis themselves would reject that notion of divine election.