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Why Does God Give Special Treatment to Some?

Don - November 17, 2006

My scripture study this morning got me thinking again about God’s special treatment for the house of Israel. Here are some of my musings about this: Part of the extra special blessings come because of the promise/covenant with Abraham. That covenant was extended to Jacob/Israel after he was deceitful in getting it. The Israelites became God’s chosen people. God protected “His” people thru Joseph and the whole Egyptian captivity.

God then leads them out of Egypt to the promised land. They don’t want to enter the promised land, so God provides for them for 40 years and gives them another chance to enter. They blow that by not killing off everyone like they were commanded. (that’s a whole different blog).

He blesses them anyway. They want a king, God gives them a king. They get taken captive, more than once, but God still protects them and makes promises as to their return.

They return and still blow it. The mess up so bad that they kill God’s only begotten son. There are consequences for their actions…more scattering and captivity. But thru all this they are still promised great blessing. They still get to come back to thier promised land. They get special protection. They get to see the savior…see what they have done to him and then get blessed some more.

What’s the deal with this? If it’s based on the covenant God made with Jacob, aren’t all covenants conditional by definition? If it is by covenant then didn’t Israel break their end of the bargin several times?

If it’s not by covenant than what is the basis? If it’s just an outright promise to them, then is that fair? And if God continues to bless people thru all their sins and in spite of their sins then how do we reconcile that with justice / blessing predicated on obedience to laws?

I appears God has predestined the House of Israel – made them special – treated the special – and promises to continue to treat them special – what gives?


  1. I think that perhaps we are only getting part of the story – the part we are in. E.g., Howard Hunter once spoke at BYU:

    Let me cite, as an example of exclusiveness, the present problem in the Middle East—the conflict between the Arabs and the Jews. We do not need to apologize nor mitigate any of the prophecies concerning the Holy Land. We believe them and declare them to be true. But this does not give us justification to dogmatically pronounce that others of our Father’s children are not children of promise…Sometimes they (members of the Church in the Muslim world) are offended by members of the Church who give the impression that we favor only the aims of the Jews. The Church has an interest in all of Abraham’s descendants, and we should remember that the history of the Arabs goes back to Abraham through his son Ishmael.

    We know that God has chosen Israel, Christianity and the Restoration, but who is to say that he hasn’t had stuff on the side for other cultures and civilizations throughout time. I tend to think he has.

    Comment by J. Stapley — November 17, 2006 @ 12:33 pm

  2. Why is he blessing the United States and Canada with incredible riches, freedom, and safety when we are the ones who are also corrupting the world with smut, deceit, economic inequality and devotion to materialism? In no way do we deserve the blessings the Lord has poured out upon us (at least for the past 30 years or so).

    Comment by Michael — November 17, 2006 @ 12:51 pm

  3. We don’t have all the story- we don’t know about his dealings with Esau’s family, for example, or the lost ten tribes, or? everyone else. Are there records of His doings with those groups, with other parts of the human family? I believe there is. The scriptures say that he invites all, all, all, to come; it is everywhere in scripture. And he invites each one of us, over and over again, even when we as individuals louse up our lives, b’cause He loves us. We are all His children. He has already chosen us, we need to choose Him.

    Comment by JVT — November 17, 2006 @ 3:25 pm

  4. J., It appears to me the God favors the interests of the Jews (Israelites). Sure He promises us / muslims etc. the same end result blessings, but historically and prophetically it appears He treats His “chosen” people differently.

    Comment by Don Clifton — November 17, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

  5. Michael, your comment made me think of a quote by Billy Graham – he said something to the effect “If God doesn’t destroy the U.S. for the sins we’ve committed, He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an appology.”

    Comment by Don Clifton — November 17, 2006 @ 3:31 pm

  6. JVT, I’m not familiar enough with world religions to know, but if Esau’s decendents had “scriptures” with similar promises in them – wouldn’t we know about it? Or how about the Muslims – do they have scriptural promises and claim to the same or similar blessings/promises that Israel does? As for the lost 10 tribes – they are Israel – they already have those promises.

    Comment by Don Clifton — November 17, 2006 @ 3:33 pm

  7. If Israel isn’t so special then why do we have to adopted into the house of Israel?

    Comment by Don Clifton — November 17, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

  8. Covenants are conditional, but the covenant God made with Abraham cannot be broken. Abraham kept his part of the bargain, and now the Lord does the same.

    This is, I believe, part of why the House of Israel as a whole continues to be blessed.

    Of course usually it becomes necessary for individuals to DO something in order for God’s promises to others to be fulfilled. See 3 Ne 5:14.

    Comment by mistaben — November 17, 2006 @ 4:00 pm

  9. mistaben, the covenant God made with Abraham is different than what He promised one of Abraham’s grandchildren.

    Comment by Don Clifton — November 17, 2006 @ 4:28 pm

  10. I think in some way, Israel signifies all of God’s children.

    It makes a lot more sense if you view God as a longsuffering, tolerant, yet affectionate father. Israel is the headstrong toddler, the rebellious adolescent, the willful son or daughter.

    Good grief, do they ever exasperate you! But you still regard them with a great deal of affection nonetheless.

    In a way, I think the covenant with Israel shows that, for better or for worse, God is stuck with us. And we with Him, even if we don’t always appreciate it.

    Thus the meaning of the word “Israel” -

    “One who prevails with God.”

    Comment by Seth R. — November 17, 2006 @ 8:00 pm

  11. I think God stood by Israel and kept finding new ways to work with them through they kept murmuring or wanting kings, makes a type of how God is faithful to his promise to us too, though we stumble and return. I guess that’s what Seth just said though.

    The other fun thing about Abraham, Paul points out in Romans that God said Abraham was righteousness because Abraham believed that he would have his promised child(ren) though he was over 100 years old. So Paul says in Romans 4:11 that Abraham becomes father to all those who believe. I thought that was kind of fun when combined with the idea of adoption that we talk about more often.

    Comment by Johnna — November 18, 2006 @ 1:50 am

  12. I wonder if some of this might be connected with even more of the story we don’t really have — premortal life. I don’t know how that all would shake out, but I think it’s something to consider.

    Comment by m&m — November 18, 2006 @ 2:16 am

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