Dear 100 hour board,
In response to question 48934 about why the Israelites are a chosen people if God is no respector of persons it is important to remember exactly what “chosen” means in a biblical sense.
Due to modern usage and its relation to the word “choice”, we tend to think it means “special” or “prefered” or “of greater value” as in “choice cuts of meat” or “a choice experience”.
However, a more correct definition of the word is “prepared” or “ready” or “equipped”.
Members of the house of Israel are “chosen” because they are prepared to take on the extra responsibilities that God wants them to take on. That preparation may be due to parts of their development in the pre-mortal world (as habiba’s references point out), or to specific spiritual gifts of grace they received from God in this life (read through Peter’s descriptions in 1st Peter 1 and 2), or due to embracing, through baptism and their agency, a society that has the means to teach them the gospel so that they have the foundation they need to do God’s work more clearly (see Elder Bednar’s April 2005 conference talk). God needs some people to be the leaven for the rest of the world and he’s decided (chosen) to give them the skills, knowledge and abilities to do it.
It is not a matter of being more valued by God. It is a matter of being given a specific work of priesthood and teaching and blessing others and the tools to do it.
As you know, sometimes the children of Israel rise to the occasion and do that work and other times they fail pretty miserably, to their tragic condemnation. If you are of the house of Israel it doesn’t mean you are better or more valued but it does mean you had better be on your toes. You have fewer excuses for being bad.
I highly recommend a review of Elder Bednar’s talk.
~Decades in the Desert