6.19 Amos -- Israel is Chosen
Having declared that Israel was to be treated just like the other foreign nations surrounding her, the Lord then stated that she is special to Him:
"You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins" (Amos 3:2).
There is good news and bad news in this verse! Israel was chosen, and BECAUSE of that, her people were accountable to God. The main problem of Israel and Judah was that they believed that being chosen got them off the hook of being responsible for their behavior: "We are children of Abraham, descendants of Jacob -- the land and promises belong to us by divine right."
They did not understand the conditional nature of the covenant relationship God made with Israel. But as we have seen thoughout our study, God tested every generation of His people, and discarded those who failed to uphold His covenant. He even brought in occasional outsiders who honored Him in their hearts. It was God's intent, under both New and Old Covenants, that the fact of being chosen should have spurred His people to love and gratitude. It was not an excuse for ingratitude, lassitude and antinomianism.
This verse summarizes in one sentence the entire Old Testament. The modern world denies the first clause (that God chose Israel), but heartily endorses the second. Indeed, many nations vie for the favor of being the next Assyria, the next Babylon, the scourge of Israel. This is because their leaders do not know the God of the Bible. They also do not realize that when you despise the choice, you also despise the Chooser.