You Have Called me ‘Chosen’
Mary Ann Nguyen
April 22/May 18, 2001
During worship service one recent Sunday, we sang the song "Your Beloved." Familiar to most of us, the words of this song focus on God’s love for us, His unworthy people. Among the string of words in the chorus, the ones that say, "You have called me chosen" struck me the most. Chosen?
Yes, chosen. It is true that God has "chosen" us (e.g. John 15:19, 1 Thess 1:4, 1 Pe 2:9). But what does this mean?
I believe that we often handle this truth incorrectly. We often focus on how special we are because we are chosen. We edge into the thinking that it indicates free reign to be selfish and indulgent. We live and breathe and act in such a way as to hold egocentric, self-centered lives. We often think: What’s in it for me? How do I benefit? God wants to bless me! I am special! Look at me. But these thoughts misconstrue this truth. Rather, He has chosen us to be instruments for Him of His glory - chosen to be His instruments, chosen to be His witnesses, and chosen to bring glory to Him – not for ourselves. If I do not live for what I am chosen for, then I have missed it completely. I miss out…and become worthy of and entitled to punishment.
In Ezekial 5, we are reminded of what must happen when we do not live up to the purpose to which we are chosen for. God chose the Israel nation out of many nations and set them high upon a rock by making them the center of the world (geographically and otherwise). "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her" (Ezekial 5:5). His desire was to make them obvious like a city on a hill in order that other nations may see the attributes of our powerful, loving God through them. However, the Israel nation did not fulfill what they had been called to do. They, instead, openly disobeyed God, were selfish and self-centered. The Lord declared about them, "Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her….You have been more unruly than the nations around you…" (Eze 5:6-7). They became bad witnesses for God. They were misrepresenting Him and causing Him to lose face. If He did not punish them, then the world would presume that this Hebrew God named Yahweh would let His children get away with murder – and anything else they wanted. If He did not punish them, then He would appear to be a weak and wimpy God, who couldn’t manage His own children and who was so wishy-washy that He did not care about the laws He Himself set. The nations would not be able to see His holiness, His wrath, and therefore, never understand His mercy, His grace, His love. Thus, for His name’s sake, God had to punish the Israelites because they did not fulfill the calling to which they had been chosen.
Similarly for us, we have been chosen by God to be witnesses of His glory. Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden" (Matthew 5:14). If in our disobedience and sin we become bad witnesses of His name, then we – like the Israelites – not only miss out on experiencing the joy of His presence in our lives, but we become worthy of punishment, loss, trials, problems, difficulties, weariness. (These kinds of things are the inevitable consequences of not going His way – the Way He knows to be the best for us.)
We are chosen to His – yes – but more so, we are chosen to experience and be a witness of who He is. We need to choose to be a part of this by living lives of reverence and obedience to His holy law and His holy ways.
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Created: May 18, 2001