Q: #267. When did God choose Israel as His chosen people?
By: Steve Shirley
A: The nation of Israel began with Abraham. God chose Abraham to work through beginning in (Gen 12:1-3). At this time, God made a covenant with Abraham (Abram until God changed his name to Abraham in Gen 17:5) that we call the "Abrahamic Covenant." One of the promises God made in this covenant was: "I will make you a great nation" (Gen 12:2). This "great nation" became Israel.
God reaffirms this covenant several more times in (Gen 13:14-17)(Gen 15:1-6,18-21)(Gen 17:1-21)(Gen 22:15-18). God also renewed this covenant with Abraham's son Isaac (Gen 26:1-5,24) and again with Isaac's son Jacob (Gen 28:10-15). The name Israel began to be used for this "great nation" when God changed Jacob's name to Israel in (Gen 32:27-28)(Gen 35:10).
The primary reason why God created Israel was to establish a nation through which the Messiah (Jesus) would come. Jesus came through the lineage of Judah (Heb 7:14)(Mt 1:2-3)(Lk 3:33)(Rev 5:5), which was one of the 12 tribes of Israel. Secondarily, God also promised that through Israel "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen 12:3). This blessing even extends to us (Gentiles) today, as the New Testament says we are a part of "Abraham's seed" through Christ (Gal 3:16,27-29).
Studying how God's worked through the Israelites can teach us a great deal about Him.