The Bible’s Viewpoint
Does God Favor Some Nations Above Others?
MANY feel that God favors their own nation above others. But if asked for proof, what could they say? Some might point to accomplishments in their nation’s history—such as military victories or economic growth. They might even call attention to successful programs designed to feed the hungry, to protect those less fortunate, or to promote justice and fair treatment. Others conclude that God favors their homeland because of the natural beauty there.
Such national pride can be found in all lands. Yet, does the Bible support the notion that God favors one nation above others?
An Important Trait of God
The answer is clear if we understand an important trait of Almighty God, one that the Bible describes emphatically. God is impartial. For example, Acts 10:34 says plainly: “God is not partial.” The Bible also says that Jehovah God “treats none with partiality” and that “with Jehovah our God there is no unrighteousness or partiality.” (Deuteronomy 10:17; 2 Chronicles 19:7) God hates partiality; he even equates it with unrighteousness.
You might wonder, though: ‘Did not God favor the ancient nation of Israel above other nations? Was that not evidence of partiality?’ God did single out the nation of Israel in Bible times, and he protected the Israelites in some of their conflicts with other nations. Additionally, the Bible says of God: “He is telling his word to Jacob, his regulations and his judicial decisions to Israel. He has not done that way to any other nation.” (Psalm 147:19, 20) But do God’s dealings with Israel suggest that he is partial? Not at all. Consider three reasons.
First, God singled out Israel in order to benefit all nations. He made a covenant with the forefather of that nation, Abraham, saying: “By means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves.” (Genesis 22:17, 18) Yes, God’s purpose in dealing with Israel was to produce a “seed” that would make great blessings available, not just to the people of one nation but to people of “all nations of the earth.”
Second, God’s blessings were never limited to the people of Israel. He impartially opened the way for individuals of other nations to join with his chosen people in worshipping him. (2 Chronicles 6:32, 33) Many accepted that invitation and were blessed as a result. The Moabite woman Ruth was just one well-known example of such.—Ruth 1:3, 16.
Third, God’s special relationship with earthly Israel was temporary. In 29 C.E., Israel produced the foretold “seed” in the person of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:16) But Jesus’ countrymen rejected him as the Messiah. He said to them: “Look! Your house is abandoned to you.” (Matthew 23:38) Thereafter, God’s dealings with mankind have been separate from individual secular nations and their conflicts. Rather, he has impartially made blessings available to all mankind. Consider some examples.
God’s Gifts to All
The ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ is God’s greatest gift to man. (Romans 6:23) It has provided a means of release from sin and death, giving each of us the opportunity to inherit everlasting life. This gift is for individuals “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9) Yes, God wants “everyone exercising faith” in Jesus to have “everlasting life.”—John 3:16.
The good news about God’s Kingdom brings many blessings to those who listen. (Revelation 14:6, 7) It brings hope for the future and provides wise counsel that can lead to a happier life now. Jehovah has impartially arranged that “this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20; Acts 16:10) That good news is contained in the Bible, a book that can be found—at least in part—in more than 2,300 languages. As a loving Father, Jehovah has made available to virtually every person on earth the “sayings of everlasting life.”—John 6:68; Joshua 1:8.
These and other gifts from God are available to all—yes, to people of all nations, races, and language groups. So, receiving God’s favor and blessing does not depend on our place of birth or ethnic background.
Who Are Favored by God?
What, then, do we need to do in order to receive God’s favor? The apostle Peter answers by saying: “In every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34, 35) Clearly, a passive interest in God is not enough. We need to develop a sincere love for God, fearing to displease him. We also need to ‘work righteousness,’ or actively pursue the doing of what is good in the eyes of God.
To illustrate: In many lands public schooling is widely available, but only those who attend classes and apply themselves will benefit. Similarly, God’s favor is available to all, but effort is required on our part. Such effort would include reading the Bible regularly, demonstrating faith in Christ’s ransom sacrifice, and living a life based on Bible principles. If we really “search for Jehovah,” we will find ourselves on the path to an approved standing with him.—Psalm 105:3, 4; Proverbs 2:2-9.
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God has made the “sayings of everlasting life” available to people of all nations