I wish I had a shekel for every time I have heard or read of people trying to understand “the Israel piece”. How and why in the world does this tiny people and land play such a central role in the Bible and in God’s plan? According to Deuteronomy 4, the reason is that Israel is God’s first “attempt and prototype experiment.”
“Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live? Or did God ever try to go and take a nation for Himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror?” (Deuteronomy 4:33-34)
Has God ever attempted this? Has God ever tried? The same linguistic root is used in Hebrew for the word “experiment”. In other words, the plain meaning of the Hebrew could be understood as saying that God is performing a “trial run” – a prototype experiment to see whether He can succeed in taking a group of people for Himself, to be His own.
Whether or not He can succeed, has great repercussions on whether He can expand the group and do the same with hundreds of other Nations and billions of individuals. In Jeremiah 31:35-37 God promises that as long as the sun continues to give its light, He will maintain Israel as a people and not cast them off. He has committed Himself, staking His reputation on being able to prove His covenant faithfulness to them and through them.
He will succeed in His “attempted experiment” with Israel, and He will succeed with many others as well – i.e. you and me. (I Peter 2:9, Revelation 7:9)