MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, January 23rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. WORLD Radio commentator Janie B. Cheaney now on the people who are both chosen—but at the same time hated.
JANIE CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: I don’t understand anti-semitism. It’s different from every other hatred—none are as deep or pervasive. It’s the world’s most acceptable prejudice, popping up among your own acquaintances.
Someone I know subscribes to online newsletters that report the supposed nefarious doings of—quote—“Zionist agents.”
Someone else I know believes that today’s so-called “Jews” are actually descended from the Khazars of far-eastern Europe, who shamelessly exploit the Biblical heritage of the chosen people.
This collective fever is not just religious. It can also be racial, political, economic, cultural, or any combination. Now playing, on every continent, history’s longest-running hatred.
But the Bible tells a different story. It tells the story, with God as the protagonist and Israel His constant foil.
It began with an old man under the stars, challenged to count them: “. . . and so shall your descendants be.” Two generations later, a flawed man wrestled with an unknown adversary on a riverbank and received a new name: Israel, or He-struggles-with-God.
The story theme emerged: Israel struggled, God contended—and vice versa. Wrestling his people every step of the way, the LORD taught them, corrected them, delivered them, and shaped them into a people who would bear his mark forever.
As such, they would make an outsized impression on the world. How could they not?
The prophesies of Isaiah tell the story from God’s point of view: His wrath and His mercy continually shifting, sometimes in mid-sentence, from righteous judgment to gracious reconciliation. The repeated reversals capture what we might, in human terms, call God’s dilemma: He can’t be holy and righteous without judging.
And yet, He says: “I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people.” What to do—let them in to wreck the house, or lock them out?
There is a third way: “For unto us a child is born . . .”
The Jews, as a whole, do not accept their Father’s unexpected solution. Paul, a Hebrew of Hebrews, agonized over their rejection. But he perceived in it God’s outreach to all nations, as Isaiah predicted. Therefore, Paul warns us Gentiles, don’t be proud or hateful. God will not uncall those he originally called.
In his spiritual autobiography, The Great Good Thing, writer Andrew Klavan describes his struggle with anti-semitism as the last hurdle of a secular Jew coming to Christ. Quoting now—“The Jews are ‘chosen’ in the sense that God selects them as his doorway back into the world after the separation of the Fall. As such, they represent all people everywhere, a microcosm of what we are like in relationship to God.”
All Christ-killers, all connivers, all contenders, but none forgotten.
And in the end, “All Israel will be saved.”
For WORLD Radio, I’m Janie B. Cheaney.