The Bible appears to say that God favors the Jews. But why would He favor them since they don’t believe Jesus is the Messiah? I thought He would favor Christians?
– M. From Maryland
Favor with a purpose (Part 1)
As a foundation to my answer I’d like to first speak a little bit about the issue of favor. In human terms, favor implies preferential treatment to one and therefore denied or diminished treatment for another. So if someone is a “favorite” child of their parents for instance, the other children are less favored and usually don’t like it one bit.
But is that true when it is God dispensing the favor? The Jews are more favored and the rest of us are therefore less so? Aren’t we the good ones (as Christians) who know and acknowledge the truth about who Jesus is? If there’s any favor to be had, shouldn’t it be going to us?
Look at it this way: as individuals, God doesn’t play favorites. “For there is no partiality with God.” (Romans 2:11) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) God knows each of us by name and he numbers the hairs on our head. Full favor for both you and me.
Yet there is another level of favor that does apply to certain groups. Yes, Jews are under great favor…still. This favor is not based on them deserving it but on God’s own character and on his covenant promises to which he is always faithful. God had a plan for the whole world to know him and his chosen method was to call out a people whom he could use as a vehicle to reveal himself.
Isaiah 42:6 spoke about this. “I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, and I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations.” Their call did not make the Jews better than anyone else but it did make them more responsible and they didn’t always do a very good job living up to their responsibility.
Right now the Jews are mainly branches that have been cut off (Read all of Romans 11) but God still has a plan for them. “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved.”
During this time of “hardening” the Jews still experience God’s miraculous provision in many ways—for the sake of Abraham and in accord with his promises to him. Just like Paul tells us, it’s a big “mystery” still unfolding. As we await that time when the veil will be lifted, don’t forget to love and favor whom God loves and favors: his precious Jews.