From Eternity Past


Why God Chose Israel

Says the prophet, “Let favor be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: ... and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.” Isaiah 26:10. Thus it was after the Flood. The inhabitants of the earth again rebelled against the Lord. Twice God's covenant had been rejected by the world. Both the people before the Flood and the descendants of Noah cast off the divine authority. Then God entered into covenant with Abraham and took to Himself a people to become the depositaries of His law. EP 232.2

To seduce and destroy this people, Satan began at once to lay his snares. The children of Jacob were tempted to contract marriage with the heathen and worship their idols. But Joseph's fidelity was a testimony to the true faith. To quench this light Satan worked through Joseph's brothers to cause him to be sold as a slave. But God overruled. Both in the house of Potiphar and in the prison, Joseph received an education that, with the fear of God, prepared him for his position as prime minister of the nation. His influence was felt throughout the land, and the knowledge of God was spread far and wide. The idolatrous priests were filled with alarm. Inspired by Satan's enmity toward the God of heaven, they set themselves to quench the light. EP 232.3

After the flight of Moses from Egypt, idolatry seemed to conquer. Year by year the hopes of the Israelites grew fainter. Both king and people mocked the God of Israel. This spirit grew until it culminated in the Pharaoh who was confronted by Moses. When the Hebrew leader came before the king with a message from “Jehovah, God of Israel,” it was not ignorance of the true God, but defiance of His power, that prompted the answer, “Who is Jehovah, that I should obey His voice? ... I know not Jehovah.” From first to last, Pharaoh's opposition was the result of hatred and defiance. EP 232.4

In the days of Joseph, Egypt had been an asylum for Israel. God had been honored in the kindness shown His people; and now the long-suffering One, full of compassion, gave each judgment time to do its work. The Egyptians had evidence of the power of Jehovah, and all who would might submit to God and escape His judgments. The stubbornness of the king resulted in spreading the knowledge of God and bringing many Egyptians to give themselves to His service. EP 233.1

The gross idolatry of the Egyptians and their cruelty during the latter part of the Hebrew sojourn should have inspired in the Israelites an abhorrence of idolatry and led them to flee for refuge to the God of their fathers. But Satan darkened their minds, leading them to imitate the practices of their heathen masters. EP 233.2

When the time came for Israel's deliverance, it was Satan's determination that that great people, numbering more than two million, should be held in ignorance, superstition, obscurity, and bondage that he might obliterate from their minds the remembrance of God. EP 233.3

When the miracles were wrought before the king, Satan wrought to counterfeit the work of God and resist His will. The only result was to prepare the way for greater exhibitions of divine power and glory. EP 233.4

God “brought forth His people with joy, and His chosen with gladness ... that they might observe His statutes, and keep His laws.” Psalm 105:43-45. EP 233.5

During the bondage in Egypt many of the Israelites had, to a great extent, lost the knowledge of God's law and had mingled its precepts with heathen customs and traditions. God brought them to Sinai, and there with His own voice declared His law. EP 233.6

Even while God was proclaiming His law to His people, Satan was plotting to tempt them to sin. By leading them into idolatry, he would destroy the efficacy of all worship, for how can man be elevated by adoring what may be symbolized by his own handiwork? If men could so forget their own divine relationship as to bow down to these revolting and senseless objects, then the evil passions of the heart would be unrestrained, and Satan would have full sway. EP 233.7

At the very foot of Sinai, Satan began to plan for overthrowing the law of God, thus carrying forward the same work he had begun in heaven. During the forty days Moses was in the mount with God, Satan was exciting doubt, apostasy, and rebellion. When Moses came from the presence of divine glory with the law they had pledged to obey, he found God's covenant people bowing in adoration before a golden image. EP 234.1

Satan had planned to cause their ruin. Since they had proved themselves so utterly degraded, the Lord would, he believed, divorce them from Himself. Thus would be secured the extinction of the seed of Abraham that was to preserve the knowledge of the living God, and through whom the true Seed was to come to conquer Satan. But the great rebel again was defeated. While those who stubbornly ranged themselves on the side of Satan were cut off, the people, humbled and repentant, were mercifully pardoned. The whole universe had been witness to the scenes at Sinai; all had seen the contrast between the government of God and that of Satan. EP 234.2