“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all of the people’s on earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”
~ Deuteronomy 7.6, NRSV
The scriptures that accompany this verse have been used for all of the wrong reasons: American slavery, Jim Crow segregation, rules against “interracial” marriage also known as miscegenation or exogamy. Persons have used it to justify their belief in human superiority and inferiority, separating persons according to the social coloring of skin. According to race, persons are chosen according to physical characteristics– by other human beings. Who are we to judge? We don’t even like everything about ourselves. How can we possibly talk of perfection as it relates to entire cultural group? This ridiculous reduction does not begin to compare to what it means to be chosen by God, which is what the passage speaks to.
The nations that the Lord removes so that the children of Israel can occupy the land are described as stronger and more numerous (Deuteronomy 7.1). They defeat them not because they have a larger army or better equipped soldiers. They win because the Lord is on their side. Persons don’t like to talk much about the God of the Old Testament but He is the same God in the New Testament.
Jesus, much like the children of Israel, was chosen to be the Messiah not based on looks or social pedigree. In fact, he was not the king that the Jews were expecting. He did not meet their “messianic expectations” so to speak. But, this did not matter. God was with him and because of him, God is with us.
Why God chooses us has nothing to do with how we look. We are made in His image so if this were the standard, then doesn’t that suggest that God would choose everyone? It does unless you believe in socially colored gods, that there is a god made in our image. But, there is no god of socially colored white people and god of socially colored black people and god of socially colored red people and god of socially colored yellow people and god of socially colored beige people. To be such is to live in a racialized reality, to live in the world that race has created.
We are chosen not based upon the fluctuating feelings, doubts and opinions of others. We are not socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige people. We are not race men and women as we can not be children of race and of God. We cannot be chosen by race and by God. We are either a racial nation or a holy nation. The two are not synonymous.
As Christians, we are God’s people, holy, a treasured possession, race-less.