It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you — for you were the fewest of all peoples. It was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath that he swore to your ancestors, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
That struck me as an interesting companion passage to one highlighted by Randy Woodley in a discussion of “American Exceptionalism” at the Emergent Village. Randy offers a vivid paraphrase of Amos 9:7:
“Are you Israelites more important to me than the Ethiopians?” asks the Lord. “I brought Israel out of Egypt, but I also brought the Philistines from Crete and led the Arameans out of Kir.”
Taken together, those verses recall one of the few Christian T-shirts I actually like. It says:
Jesus Loves You! (Then again, he loves everybody)
American Christians like to say that God loves America and that God loves Christians. They’re right about that.
The problem arises when they think that this makes them different from everyone else.
(That T-shirt, by the way, comes from Lark News. They’re back with their latest volley of The-Onion-ish news from American evangelicalism. See, for example, “Church members struggle to memorize mission statement,” “Church email change leads to awkward results,” and especially this one, about a pastor opting not to follow Rick Warren’s “Daniel Plan” for weight loss.)