This is a brand new thought for me. Adoption is not only God’s Story for you and me, but for Israel. It takes the story of adoption back to the Old Testament…to the Exodus from Egypt.
As we talked about in my last post, adoption has always been God’s plan from the beginning. Before the world was created, God the Father planned to build his family not through “natural” means, but through adoption. But this is the new thought for me…ISRAEL WAS ADOPTED TOO! This rocked my world. Check it out…
They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. -Romans 9:4
Paul clearly tells us that Israel was adopted into the family of God at Mt. Sinai when He made a covenant with them. We think of this event as being about the 10 Commandments or Israel becoming the “chosen people” and it is. This is one of the key moments in redemptive history. But, a better way to understand it is to see it as the moment of Israel’s own adoption.
Scholars tell us that it was common in the near east for people to see themselves as the natural “sons” of their “father” god. In O.T., this was common terminology and many nations used this common story as the explanation for their existence and special status as “natural sons” of the gods. We even see it later in our western cultural history when Zeus and other “gods” have children by human women like Hercules and others.
That is what makes Israel’s adoption so unique. They were to see themselves as adopted sons of God, but that didn’t mean they were second-class. They were God’s first-born even though other nations would not see it that way. In other cultures, being adopted meant you were second class. But God turns that notion up-side down. This is the connection to Exodus…
Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’ ” -Exodus 4:22-23
God the Father is telling Pharaoh that Israel is just as important as Pharaoh’s own son. Pharaoh was seen as a god by the Egyptians and that made his son, the son of a god. That is the amazing part. God is saying that Israel is his loved, adopted firstborn and has all the rights and privileges of son-ship just like the “natural” son of Pharaoh.
God goes on to prove his love for Israel by freeing them from slavery and bringing them through the wilderness to His Promised Land: Israel’s inheritance. The story of adoption begins before the beginning of time (Ephesians), but this is the first moment in redemptive history that we see God’s plan unfold.
** Thanks to Together4Adoption for their article. Most of the info here is from them. Thanks!