Favorites create challenges. That’s probably why most parents deny having any. Siblings sometimes tease each other saying, “I’m Mom’s favorite.” Laughter follows, and so does the secret question: is it true? Nevertheless, in spite of the accompanying baggage, most of us want to be someone’s favorite.
Nations want that too. They grant each other “Most Favored Nation” (MFN) status which positively affects trade between them. The United States granted Great Britain MFN status clear back in 1794. Nowadays, the World Trade Organization requires its members to grant each other MFN status.
The Bible testifies that a great day is coming when a new most favored nation status will be given by the Lord God himself. Isaiah (circa 750 BC) prophesies about it, declaring: “On that Day, there will be a highway all the way from Egypt to Assyria: Assyrians will have free range in Egypt and Egyptians in Assyria. No longer rivals, they’ll worship together, Egyptians and Assyrians! On that Day, Israel will take its place alongside Egypt and Assyria, sharing the blessing from the center. God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who blessed Israel, will generously bless them all: “Blessed be Egypt, my people!… Blessed be Assyria, work of my hands!… Blessed be Israel, my heritage!”” (Isaiah 19:23–25, The Message Bible)
Israel is at the center as God’s “heritage.” Assyria, is called by God, “the work of my hands.” Egypt, God calls “my people.” What a day “that Day” will be! Peace in the Middle East is on its way.
Israel, God’s covenant nation in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) shows up as the favored nation in the Christian Bible (New Testament) as well. It records that Jesus came unto his own people, the Jews (John 1:11). His precise genealogical records ((Matthew 1, Luke 3) prove him to be the legitimate heir to the throne of King David and, thus, the “King of the Jews,” just as Pilate posted on the cross.
Paul, God’s apostle to the nations, makes it clear that Jesus’ own people, the Jews, are first and foremost in God’s plan of salvation. Paul writes to the Christians in Rome, “I can’t wait to get to you in Rome, preaching this wonderful good news of God. It’s news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else!” (Romans 1:15–16, The Message)
This shows that God is still at work among the nations and that the center nation of all his work is the Jewish nation. It could be that Israel’s existence as a nation is the first fruit of a modern day miracle and sign of God’s continuing, active involvement in world history. The rise of Israel among the nations may not be a chance accident, but, rather, an act of God.
Of course, Jews are humans, just like the rest of us. The Good New is that God has not forsaken them, or us, and because of them we all get to be included in the Gospel through Jesus the Son of David, Son of Man, and Son of God.
John Parker, is a pastor and teacher at Chowchilla Simple Church 10 AM Sundays at Carty Center, 609 W. Robertson Boulevard. Information: (209) 564-7201.