“Are you not as the sons of Ethiopia to Me, O sons of Israel?” declares the LORD
“Have I not brought up Israel from the land of Egypt, And the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?” (Amos 9:7)
Borrowed from Rabbi Neil Gillman’s book ‘The Jewish Approach to God: A Brief Introduction for Christians’ (2003)
Rabbi Neil Gillman makes a point in his book about this passage and chosen-ness. The idea seems to be Israel was ‘chosen’ – but so were the other nations mentioned (Phillistines and Arameans)…in that they are all paralleled in this verse from the prophet Amos. It’s intriguing because it places a light upon God caring for these other nations at some point (in that they were also ‘brought out’ from other nations).
It seems the point is that although Israel was chosen – they are not alone on God’s concern meter. God seemed to care about these other nations mentioned as well, enough to bring them out of whatever they were experiencing (which seems to parallel the exodus possibly).
Gillman relates chosen to choosing from a handful of fruit. For example, just because he chooses aan apple over an orange does not make one less than the other. In this same sense, Israel’s chosen-ness does not make them better than the next nations…just that they are part of a covenantal experience with God.
In fact, the Noahide laws concering Gentiles says ‘Law 7: Requirement to have just Laws: Set up a governing body of law (eg Courts)”. This seems to include the idea of Gentiles having their own nations and version of law codes…as just as acceptable as the covenant experience Israel has with God. Gentiles living in their nations following just and righteous codes of their own can be seen as good in the eyes of God as well.
“Eighteenth-century Rabbi Jacob Emden proposed that Jesus, and Paul after him, intended to convert the Gentiles to the Noahide laws while allowing the Jews to follow full Mosaic Law.” (Wikipedia – Noahide Laws quoting from “”Seder ‘Olam” (pp. 32b–34b, Hamburg, 1752))
I think this statement is true about what I see in the NT as well (namely Acts 15). Which, if true, means it was okay for the Christians to follow their nation states and the ‘just’ laws they already had…no shame in that game. Which means, as Gentiles from a variety of cultures in the West it is okay to observe the laws of your respective country as respecting to God (which we also see in Paul’s letters). We may be inspired by the Torah (which I think Christians are) and we can find our leading there – but it is okay to follow your nations laws and serve God.
Point being, why all this need to be special…enjoy where/who you are and live your life.