CHOSEN! What a lovely word. I’ve thought of different occasions when being chosen for something special elicits great delight. I remember, as a child in the early grades at school, how important it was to be chosen to be part of the baseball team; or to be chosen as captain of the spelling bee; or chosen to be an angel in the Christmas concert. The excitement of being chosen for an Academy Award is evident every time the entertainment world presents its special awards for best actor, best producer, or best animator, or…? And what an honor it is to be chosen to carry the Torch into the arena to announce the official opening of the Olympic Games.
It is interesting to note how much the Bible has to say about God’s choices. Of course, being the Creator of all that is, as well as the Redeemer of the world, and being the inherent essence of Love, Wisdom, and Knowledge, it is unquestionably His prerogative to make whatever choices He pleases.
Early in human history, God chose the Nation of Israel to represent Him in the earth, and to demonstrate His laws to the world. The descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob He called “a special people” unto Himself, above all people that were upon the face of the earth. He did not set His love upon them, nor choose them, because they were more in number than any other nation, for they were the fewest of all people, but because the Lord loved them, and purposed to keep His promise to His chosen Abraham, He delivered them from Egyptian slavery and led them to the land that He had promised to their forefathers. (Deut. 7:6-8)
“ ‘For you are an holy people unto the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a peculiar people unto Himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.’ ”
“For the Lord has chosen Jacob unto Himself, and Israel for His peculiar treasure.”
“For He remembered His holy promise, and Abraham His servant, and He brought forth His people with joy, and His chosen with gladness; and gave them the lands of the heathen…that they might observe His statutes, and keep His laws.” (Deut. 14:2; Ps. 135:4; Ps. 105:42-45)
God also chose a particular city, the City of Jerusalem, to put His name there. “And unto His son will I give one tribe, that David My servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen to put My name there.” “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. ‘This is My rest forever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.’ ” (1 Ki. 11:36; Ps. 132:13-16)
When Jesus entered into His earthly ministry, He chose twelve men to be His disciples and to establish His Church after He returned to the Father. He assured them that they had not chosen Him, but He had chosen them, and ordained them, that they should bear fruit for His glory. He also assured them that they would find little love in the world, because He had chosen them “out of the world.” And it was ultimately proved that they were among those “of whom the world was not worthy.”
(John 15:16,19; Acts 1:2)
In spite of his murderous onslaughts against the early followers of Jesus, Saul of Tarsus was an individual very specifically identified as a “chosen vessel” unto the Lord, to bear His name before the Gentiles, and kings, as well as the Children of Israel. Later called Paul, he certainly did fulfill his calling, his whole aim to lay hold upon that for which the Lord had laid hold on him. (Acts 9:15; 22:14)
To the Church – and thus to us – is given this glorious assurance in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the believers at Ephesus: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ, according as HE HAS CHOSEN US in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will…” (Eph. 1:3-5)
To the Thessalonians he wrote, “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning CHOSEN YOU to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” (2 Thess. 2:13)
And Peter, no doubt recalling Deut. 14:2, assures us that “…you are a CHOSEN generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that you should show forth the praises of Him Who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
The interesting thing is that God does not choose the great and the mighty, the wise and the wealthy. Rather, He chooses the “poor of this world…” God chooses the “foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and the weak things of the world to shame the things which are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised, and things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, so that no-one can boast before Him.” That describes most of us, doesn’t it? (James 2:5; 1 Cor. 1:27-29).
The question might arise, How can I know I am chosen of God? I believe the answer is found in a number of ways. Is my desire toward Him? Have I felt the drawing of His Spirit? Have I been gifted with the faith to believe His Word and receive Him as my Savior and Lord? Is my trust and my hope fixed in Him? Most of all, does “His Spirit bear witness with my spirit that I am a child of God?” The Apostle John wrote the things he did that we might know that we have the Life of God, by believing in the name of His Son. Such knowledge produces an inner assurance. (Rom. 8:15, 16; 1 John 5:5)
Having such assurance, we rejoice in knowing that we have been chosen by our Heavenly Father to be a part of His vast family, to enter into all of His Joy and Purpose, and to “lay hold upon the HOPE set before us, which HOPE we have as an anchor of the soul…” (Heb. 6:18)
Think about it…and praise Him for being one of His CHOSEN!
In Agape, Eulene