The Jewish people were surrounded on all sides by pagan nations who followed idol worship and many other sinful practices. Attempting to be like them, the Israelites also adopted such practices and lost their usefulness to God. And what is useless is often discarded leading to their dispersion into other nations. But God always desires that His chosen people should participate actively in His kingdom works and give Him glory.
Why does Almighty God use man for His works? – God commanded Noah to build an Ark to save the righteous Noah and his family and the animals and the size of that was 510 ft long, 85 ft wide and 51 ft high. He chose Abram and added a part of His own name to make him Abraham and his wife Sarai to Sarah to represent Him and blessed them that ‘in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed’ (Genesis 12:1-3). God used Joseph’s brothers to send him to Egypt as a slave but actually to place him in a position to save people from severe famine years later (Genesis 37). God used Pharaoh’s daughter to save a young boy floating in river Nile and later use the same boy (Moses) to get his people freed from the slavery of Pharaoh (Exodus 2). All these events could have been organized by God independent of the basic characters in the events, yet He chose man to execute His plans, for a righteous and just God could not have done this in any other way.
After completion of the creation process God granted all rights of dominion and control to Adam (Genesis 1:28) and the devil gained control through surrender of man to Satan’s lies. Now since man is the original heir to all that God created on the earth, God must use mankind only for any plan implementation on the earth. Son of God became man for this reason to restore that, what was lost to mankind, though because of our repeated involvement in sin, Satan is still the ruler of the earth. But first and foremost, everything belongs to God and He can override anyone else’s plans or actions to fulfill His purpose on earth. God has made us a part of His family through His Son and we must adhere to the ways of His family for who can bring glory to His Father without being obedient to His Word?
How does God select people for His works? – God is not partial in His choice of people to work for His purposes. Three non- Jews first used the words ‘Baruch YHWH’ translated as ‘Praise be to the LORD’. Noah (Genesis 9:26); Eliezer, Abraham’s servant when he was sent to look for a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24:27) and Jethro, Moses’ father –in-law, a Midianite priest (Exodus 18:10) are those who praised Yehowah God with these words. God chooses vessels of clay in which to put His treasure, so that the surpassing greatness of the power would be of God and not from any man (2 Corinthians 4:7). Noah took between 55 to 75 years to build the Ark when it had not rained on the earth till then and he was aware of God’s plan to destroy all things, yet he could not or did not convince anyone else to repent (Genesis 6:13). God chose a group of uneducated, unsophisticated Galilean fishermen who were no match for the Jewish elite forming part of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, yet they ‘shook the earth’.
If we try to make much of ourselves and seek God’s help for it, we shall be disappointed. God does not exist to be available for us to let us live our goals but we exist to be available to Him so that He can accomplish His goals and plans through us. God made us a part of His family through faith in His Son to be available to Him to be used like His Son to shake the world. The Great Commission would have paralyzed the disciples but with God’s power they could move out. God shakes our souls before shaking the world through us.
To make us useful for His Kingdom works, first, He confronts us with His holiness and when we are covered wholly by the light of His glory, we see our nakedness (Isaiah 6:1-2). Second, He convicts us of our sinfulness – Lord Jesus confronted Saul on the road to Damascus, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ (Acts 9:4-5) and in that state we can then cry out, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do’. And third, He commissions us to faithful service and the scales fall away from our eyes to make us hear and see what He wants us to hear and see. It was in that Prophet Isaiah could hear God speak, ‘Whom shall we send? And then cry out, ‘Send me, Lord’ (Isaiah 6:8).
Lord Jesus prayed to the Father for Himself so that He would be glorified through the cross and that in turn would glorify the Father. To reach the world, God uses people whom He has given to His Son, who know and obey Him and whom He keeps while they are in this world (John 17:4-12). God sent His Son into the world for He cares for the world (John 3:16) and then Lord Jesus sends the followers into the world, ‘just as You (God the Father) sent Me (Lord Jesus) into the world’ (John 17:18). The strategy here is to call them out, share His life with them (you are My friends) and then thus empowered, send them back into the world.
Certain specific qualities are evident in people chosen by God for His purpose – Compassion- Pharaoh’s daughter, well aware of the decree to kill Jewish newborn babies, pulled out Moses from the Nile River, had him cared for and brought him up. God honored her by accepting the name Moses, ‘for I drew him out of water’ given by her ignoring the name given by his Jewish parents.
Accepting personal traits – Moses saw the ‘Burning Bush’ and moved forward ‘to see this great sight’ but then Moses placed his personal doubts and limitations before God to the point of arousing God’s anger (Exodus 3:3).
Courage of conviction – Moses went to the extent of asking God to remove his name from His Book if the Israelites could not be forgiven (Exodus 32:32). In Caesarea, Agabus, a prophet, tried to dissuade Apostle Paul from proceeding to Jerusalem by using his belt to show his imprisonment. But Apostle Paul declared, ‘I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus’ (Acts 21:10-13).
Keen to be close to Him – Apostle Peter is seen by many as an overconfident person attempting to try to be the leader but Lord Jesus saw in him a beloved disciple willing to draw close to Him. And Lord Jesus entrusted him the responsibility of tending to His sheep after reminding him of his love for the Savior Lord, thereby absolving him of the sin of denial. The Shepherd sits at the best place in the pasture and those close to Him get the best, listen to His songs, are loved and can hear His commands clearly. John 17 carries the prayer of the Lord to the Father, recorded by a disciple ‘whom the Lord loved’ and who was always close to his Lord.
Remain focused on the Lord always – Apostle Paul reveals the secret of successfully running ‘the race set before us’ to lay aside every weight that slows or stops us; ‘looking unto Lord Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith’ and to get encouraged by the cloud of witnesses cheering us in the stadium, but in all this retain focus on the Lord alone.
Develop close relationship with God – God is love and sustainability of love is only through a close relationship (1 John 4:8). Shema command to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength is about thoughts, feelings and emotions and desires thus making Him the central focus of life (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).
Willing to be naked before God – After referring to the Lord God as a Shepherd who cares for His sheep, King David identifies God as ‘my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me’ (Psalm 28:7). David was a man of God’s heart for he depended on God for everything, for success in battle or for forgiveness for committed sins. He was ever willing to lay bare his heart before God, his inmost thoughts and feelings before God.
Who remember it is not mine but God’s work, His kingdom, His power, His glory and then remain thankful for being chosen.
How to be always faithful and obedient to God? The Chief Priests and Jewish leaders felt so threatened by the Gospel that Apostles Peter and John were arrested and told to stop, ‘proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead’ (Acts 4:1-2). The disciples in their isolation must have sought the Lord with great hope, and then they prayed with one accord to seek His help and the place where they were gathered shook. Prophet Elijah ran from Jezebel’s threat but witnessed great power of God in the storm and a quake and thereafter to hear His ‘still small voice’ (1 Kings 19). When God comes everything gets shaken except those who cry out to Him for they get filled by His power. We must take our desperation heavenward to be filled with Divine power for sustenance.
Apostle Peter called out to the ‘elect exiles’ – ‘You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession’ (1 Peter 2:9). Even when in distress I must remember my special status in the eyes of God. There are ten special reasons for me to rejoice as God’s chosen.
First, my faith is not the reason of God choosing me, but the result of that – ‘You did not choose Me, but I chose you’ (John 15:16) and again ‘All that the Father gives Me will come to Me’ (John 6:37). He has set my roots in Himself, in His infinite heart and mind.
Second, the basis of God choosing me is not in me but in His grace – Scripture promises that ‘the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath He swore to your fathers’ and this promise is despite my sinfulness.
Third, since our faith and obedience is due to God’s choosing of us, we can know we are chosen – How do we know this, because our faith fills us with conviction, power and joy of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:6). Apostle Paul assures us that God chose us to raise us from the dead (Ephesians 2:5).
Four, no charge against us can stick – ‘Who shall bring any charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who justifies; He who judges the hearts and who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us’ (Romans 8:31-34).
Five, being chosen is destined to secure for us the sweetness of humility – ‘God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). He chooses and I have no reason to boast for His choice.
Six, equality to all races, caste, color or creed before God – There is no racism in God for ‘all who believed’ join His Divine family. New birth is from the Holy Spirit and the chosen people are taken from all the people on the earth.
Seven, all chosen are destined for eternal life of praise of the infinitely loving God – ‘God predestined us to the praise of the glory of His grace’ (Ephesians 1:4-6) and our satisfaction is not in a mirror for we are made to be mirrors with eyes, reflecting the beauty and love of God in praise. We get the joy of admiration and God gets the glory of exultation.
Eight, God will bring the chosen to eternal glory which is neither immediate nor automatic – Apostle Paul testifies to ‘endure everything for the sake of the chosen ones, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory’ (2 Timothy 2:10). Though we fight our way to heaven from the darkness of this world, God will ensure that we win.
Nine, God shapes history on behalf of the chosen – Joshua created history by stopping the sun and the moon to ensure victory of the Israelites. ‘If those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the chosen ones those days will be cut short’ (Matthew 24:22).
Ten, Lord Jesus will gather us and give us justice on the day of judgment – ‘He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other’ (Matthew 24:31). He is the Lord of lords and King of kings. Therefore, ‘Will not God give justice to His chosen ones, who cry to Him day and night?’ (Luke 18:7). If we want God to use in His plan to reach the world, be like the eleven who had nothing to boast of except their commitment to the Savior Lord and do not be like Judas, a hypocrite. Grow to know God, obey His Word and put yourself under God’s protection while walking in holiness and in unity with other believers. Pastor John Piper’s famous statement nails it, ‘The more we rejoice in Him the more He is glorified in our lives’. God’s command for us is to make disciples of all nations and the more we draw near to Him the more responsibility we are likely to be given!!