Archive for February, 2007

GOD’S CHOICE

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

There is much written and spoken and misunderstood concerning this subject, as if election was some incomprehensible mystery which imparted some greater than expected reward to those who presumed themselves to be the recipients of such choice.

In our very being, our being born, the choice of our existence is not our own. Election is a free gift. How could our being born be based on works? God elected to give life, not on works (for how could it be other wise?) but on His choice. Does this sound surprising?

If our worldly existence was based on God’s election, how much more is the free gift of life in Christ based on God’s election? Where then is there boasting or vainglory in our receiving a gift freely given?

Abram found favour in God’s sight and so God chose him to bless him and us through him, for of all the sons of men God chose a man not through what the man could do but according to what God could do through him. God’s election of Abram was conditional on Abram believing. God who knows the hearts of all men did not choose a man vainly, but wisely. He knew before he chose that Abram was a man open to Him.

Likewise we too must be open to Him lest we fall short.

The promise to Abram was to him and his seed forever. The seed of promise was not merely the hope of man and his will but rather the promise of God according to God’s will. Ishmael did not find favour with God, neither did all of Abraham’s other children, but it was through Isaac that Abraham was blessed according to the hope and purpose of God. Now God does not hope in vain, but He waits with patience for the day to dawn, for the time to be complete and in His time He produced through Abraham and Sarah the seed of promise.

The fact that it was God’s choice and not man’s was borne out in His choosing Jacob over Esau as His vessel of honour. Through this we see what manner of men we should be regarding the hope of the promise, the seed of God in us.

Esau to whom, as the first born, the seed was his by birth did not cherish the seed and sold his birthright for a bowl of pottage. Jacob, though twisted, desired the birthright with all of his being, and connived to acquire from Esau what was Esau’s by birth.

Now God who knew the unseen substance of both chose Jacob ahead of Esau as a sign, for it is not those who think the seed is theirs by right that receive the blessing, but those who hunger for the things of God that are really blessed by God.

God was not promising to bless all the seeds of Abraham but that all the families of the earth would be blessed in him.

God’s blessing was also conditional. “Walk before Me and be blameless,” God spoke. So the seed of promise was to those who thirsted for it and walked with integrity before God. Thus we can understand what Peter meant about being diligent to make certain of God’s calling and choosing us. The promise is to those who walk blamelessly before Him.

Through Jacob we see God revealing the hope of His calling, that is the man who hastens, longs for, the day of His coming and desires with all of his heart to receive the blessing. That which we hope for is not our pre-eminence but the Lord. Jacob did not fully understand that which he hoped for but by his deeds he showed the depth of his hunger for God, until finally he prevailed and received not just his father’s blessing but the blessing of God, no longer to be called Jacob (supplanter) but Israel (he who strives with God).

In other words he who desires the blessing must strive to receive it, just as Jesus spoke – “strive to enter through the narrow gate”.

God is He who calls and chooses but we must agonise lest we come short of His blessing.

God’s choice is to bless, ours must be to receive it.

The hope of Israel was the seed of blessing. God blessed Israel in hope, for His desire was to bless the world through him. All the hope and purpose of Israel was to strive together with God for the day of the fulfillment of prophecy.

God’s call is without repentance so the full hope of the promise to Abraham and his seed pressed upon the hearts of those who trusted and believed Him.

All of Jacob’s sons, to four different women, became the twelve tribes who eventually were to possess the land of promise. The whole nation of Israel was called both as witness and inheritor to the blessing of the promise.

That the seed was according to God’s choice and not according to the choice of man can again be seen in the life of Jacob. Jacob loved Rachel and worked for seven years to obtain her in marriage. Unfortunately for him, as far as he was concerned, his Uncle Laban was as deceitful as he was and tricked him into marrying Leah, the elder daughter, in Rachel’s place. Jacob did not love Leah and according to his choice Rachel would have been the bearer of God’s promise. But we see that God does not judge as man judges or choose as man chooses for even after Jacob had also obtained Rachel as his wife, God chose Leah and not Rachel to be the bearer of the promise. For through Leah we see both Judah, the line of the kings, and Levi, the line of the priests, given life. Jesus, who is the complete fulfillment of the promise, was from the tribe of Judah and is both priest and king.

Israel was the chosen instrument of God’s blessing, not according to the deeds of men, but rather the will of God. God blessed Israel for the sake of the election, because they were the vessel, the chosen vehicle for God’s purpose, that of bearing the seed of promise, at the appointed time, to be a blessing both to them and the whole world. They were sanctified, set apart, circumcision being the seal of their agreement with the covenant, a sign that their seed was God’s and that their purpose was to provide a Godly offspring.