Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

The chosen of god

11/2/03

 

 

 

I have often wondered about why God worked out the plan of redemption through Israel to the exclusion of all others. Why was exclusiveness a precursor of salvation for all mankind? It seems that in our present world the idea of being the Chosen of God leads to all kinds of conflict, tragedy, and misguided theology. Why did God choose Israel? That is the question.

 

I believe God chose Israel because he could. God chose to choose. God demonstrated that he had choices. God could make a chosen people on whatever basis he selected. His choice was an arbitrary one. He could have chosen differently. There were undoubtedly other men like Abraham, men who doubted, were fearful, and who could lie if necessary.

 

Israel did not choose God. God chose Israel. If the Old Testament teaches anything at all, nothing is clearer than the fact that Israel could not “unchoose” themselves until God’s purpose in Israel was completed. Over and over Israel could not measure up to the requirements of the law and God continued to choose them over all others. God worked steadily and purposefully to maintain Israel’s identity as the chosen of God, a special people who were special not because of what they did but because of God’s choice.

 

In the Book of Romans Paul speaks somewhat cryptically about pre-destination. The message is unsettling on the surface, but clearly God can choose to do what he will. That is the Old Testament lesson, God can choose and when he chooses mankind cannot thwart the choice.

 

In the religious understanding of many people, to be chosen of God is a choice which man makes. To be chosen one must believe the right theology and practice the right rituals. One must live ones life in strict accordance with elaborate, often frustrating rules of righteous behavior. A basic tenet of all such religious thought is the idea that those who are not like me are the “unchosen” of God, those on the outside of God’s blessing and love. In fact, in many religions, the chosen are chosen to oppose the “unchosen” in every way possible. As in the case of Old Testament Israel, the outsiders are to be shunned, scorned, and ultimately destroyed to make room for the chosen.

 

This differentiation between the chosen and the “not” is the basis for most of our laws, politics, education, culture, economics, ethics, even our medicine. It is a powerful concept which dictates how we feel about life itself.

 

Under the spiritual realities of the present day, what choice did God make about the chosen people? Did he make a choice like he did under the Old Covenant? Was it an arbitrary choice one that made sense to him? Can his choice under the New Covenant be thwarted by the actions, thoughts, beliefs, rituals, theology, politics, and cultural norms of men?

 

Just like the Israelites of old, today’s chosen people are who they are because God chose them. It has nothing to do with man’s choices. If God has chosen to love me unconditionally, then I cannot “unchoose” myself through any amount of fear, foolishness, doubt, and guilt. I can choose to ignore my “chosenness” because it seems too good to be true or too simple. In so doing I can rob my life of a great blessing. But through all of that I will remain chosen despite my ignorance. God’s choice remains “unrepented of.”

 

The selection of Israel now becomes purposeful. God chose a people to demonstrate that he has choices and what he chooses he fulfils. His purpose is not diverted by human frailties. He works in and through those frailties to bring about the ultimate good. God’s love knows no limit and it cannot be logically restricted to a chosen people who themselves choose to be chosen.

 

I am what I am because of God’s choice and not my own. What choice did God make for you?  

 

 

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