This song exemplifies the love/hate relationship we have with the people of Israel. While this song calls Israel the “people of his choice” and expresses great hope for their redemption, it warns that they currently live in “lands of woe” and walk in “error’s gloomy ways”. They are warned to repent “Ere his floods of anger flow” and that they should have “no vain delays”. This song encourages us to aim “judgment’s pointing finger” specifically at Israel.
In other songs, Israel is used symbolically as righteous members of the Church. That isn’t the case here, since this hymn puts Israel outside of Zion and on the path of error.
Why is all of this leveled at Israel? Could you imagine walking into a church and hearing other people sing about how you, and not they, walk in error’s ways? It almost seems that since we call Israel the people of his choice that absolves us from racism and we are free to point whatever judgement we want at them. Both sentiments are equally racist and do not cancel each other out.
If God is no respecter of persons, how can one group be the people of his choice? The people of Israel are human beings, like every other people. There is good and bad in all of them. As we move toward a more international church, we need to make a conscious effort to treat all races with the same level of love and respect.
Here is a segment with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing “Israel, Israel, God is Calling” during General Conference:
Here is the link to the full lyrics:
Here is the link to leave feedback for the hymns: https://lds.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2m20pSAlCEcevVb
What do you think? Should we edit the hymn? Should we get rid of it? Should we leave it as is? Let us know in the comments below: