God's Selective Choice

by William Mealand

THE SELECTION of few out of many for a supreme end in view, is distinctively expressive of the wisdom of God. In two great ways God has displayed a marvelous choice. And in each we see how divine wisdom runs counter to human ideas. To illustrate, let us note the unique choice of Israel wherein we see how God is moved as He displays His selective power.

     "The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people, for you were the fewest of all people. But because the Lord loved you..." (Deut.7: 6-8, AV). In a similar strain we read: "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord, thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto Himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth" (Deut.14:2, AV).

     Another fine reference to God's regard for Israel is in these lovely lines:

"In a desert land He found him,
In the waste howling wilderness, about, He led him,
He instructed him,
As the apple of His eye He kept him."
(Deut.32:10, AV).

     Significant, too, are these words. "He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of His eye" (Zech.2:8, AV). Now, the inwardness of this choice and regard by God for Israel lies in the depth of God's love for them. He knows what, at long last, He will be able to make of them, even as the Potter with the clay.

God's Love is Gracious,
It Cannot be Deserved

     There is a fine parallel in this choice of God's ancient people, with ourselves of later date. For God's choice of us is also in love, even in His unfathomable affection. We were, and are, unworthy. As a lady said to her daughter, "I have loved you for what you are, but God has loved me in spite of what I am." We are chosen in love, even in Christ, the Son of His love. God brought us to see that Christ died, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to Himself. Otherwise, we could not have known Him.

     In these days the impression is so often conveyed, that just when men would like to do so, they can make up their minds and accept Christ. The plea on the radio is for the acceptance of Christianity or religion, vague terms which, at best, express so little of the deep and all-embracive love of God. That God must move, and by His spirit stir the heart to perceive His choice and acceptance of us in the Beloved, is so rarely seen. And is it not because the evangel of grace, and of the glory of Christ, is not truly and fully heralded?

     Much is made of Christ as an Example, and as a Teacher, but the value and efficacy of the blood of Christ is rarely reverted to. Instead of being taken up with the power and wisdom of God, and with the excellencies and glories of Christ, speakers occupy listeners with principles of behavior, and with human affairs. How much better it would be, if they went all out for God's side of things, for His viewpoint! How vividly Paul did this! His threefold reference to the manner of God's choice is truly expressive.

     "The stupid of the world God chooses, that He may be disgracing the wise, and the weak of the world God chooses, that He may be disgracing the strong, and the ignoble of the world, and the contemptible, God chooses, and that which is not, that He should be discarding that which is, so that no flesh at all should be boasting in God's sight" (1 Cor.1:27-30).

     How finely cut are the contrasts in this paragraph, yet how truly seen in life's course! At the same time, how intelligently qualified by the preceding words--"not many wise according to the flesh, not many powerful, not many noble." How this exemplifies the wisdom of God! Not many, but some. And the reason, the purport of these distinctions--that no flesh at all should be boasting in God's sight.

     Now, all this may be very humbling, and it certainly cuts across man's pride. But what matter, if God and His Christ are exalted? God's choice of us was never meant to give us any superiority in ourselves, or allow us to think of our privilege and blessing as a right to which we are entitled. Whatever gift or conferment may be ours, is just that we may be vessels for honor, though earthen vessels still. It is that we should give God glory and praise, our sufficiency and competency being of Him.

     There is an expression of Paul's we should value very much. It is one of those gems we sometimes overlook. "Unregretted...[is] the calling of God" (Rom.11:29). What a thought to cherish! We should have no regrets for God's way with us, for there always comes an emergence we may see to be of God. How excellent, how life-imparting is God's Word! Not for the intelligence alone, but for the feelings of the heart in assurance and peace, for His Word is a vehicle of power and of rescue from the opinions of men.

     May Paul's words to the Thessalonians be true also of ourselves. "Having perceived, brethren beloved by God, your choice, for the evangel of our God did not come to you in word only, but in power also, and in holy spirit and much assurance" (1 Thess.1:4,5).

     The man or woman whose heart has been truly illuminated by God is well and wisely educated by the Word of His grace. By its study will it be observed how supremely God is in life, controlling and directing, even in the affairs of "man's day." For, it is not in man to direct his path, how and whither he would. So, in the calm of His high wisdom He will lead and direct us in the everyday of life. And happy are we if we live in reliance upon Him. We can then be independent of so much the world holds dear. For God can teach us things we could never learn at school or university. His instruction is not set in moulds of human thought, and systematized in rule and creed. He would that we should contemplate the Christ of God rather than be continually concerned with ourselves.

We are Chosen in Christ
and Exalt His Worthy Name

     Yes, God controls and chooses, gives and takes away. An enigma, yet rightly viewed, a very blessed one. Someone once said to a preacher, "It is a great mystery to me why Christ should have chosen Judas. I cannot understand it, can you?" "There is a far greater mystery to me than that," replied the preacher. "What is it?" asked the other. "That God should have chosen me," was the sincere answer.

     Now, when God once puts us into the way of life, He gives us rich and adequate cause for the step He has taken. It is to find His wisdom and His will greatly to be desired. Much is said and written today about education and equality, but little about what God can do. The finest university course fails to fully satisfy. As a humorous writer quaintly put it. "I had a splendid education, but the worst of it is, that so much of it wasn't so." There is indeed a tuition of God, step by step to a peak sublime.

     What content is conveyed by the thought that our choice is "in Him in Whom our lot was cast also, being designated beforehand according to the purpose of the One Who is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will" (Eph.1:11). What an unfading picture of grace these words portray, and indeed, the entire epistle. The phrasing of the first chapter is unforgettable. And how stupendous the crowning thought, that the Christ of God, exalted above every power, and every name that is named, or could be named in this or any eon, should be given the headship of the entire universe. A Potentate indeed! A king in very truth!

     How perfectly satisfying will the divine order be when He is thus acknowledged and acclaimed! Men write and speak of a new order in a post-war world of ideal adjustment. But, with God left out, the finest forethought will fail to achieve the desired end. When there is an acknowledgment of Him, it is of a formal kind. In varied guise, the vague term "providence" meets the ear and eye "Under providence. By an inscrutable decree of providence," and so forth. What a reminder the Psalmist pens: "O that men would praise the Lord for His loving-kindness, and for His wonderful works to the sons of men" (Psa.107, AV).

     Worthy of note, too, is the Psalmist's invitation: "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!" (Psa.34, AV).

Infinite, invisible,
God, only wise,
The all-gracious Father,
Tho' hid from our eyes.
Thy love in full story
O Father, impart,
Of Christ in the glory --
True life for the heart.

     How wonderful that God should select us for such high blessedness! That we should be led by His spirit to such pathways of grace, and find His truth to be wisdom, is a joy to relate! Thus to see and feel and know, is great honor and a rare privilege. May we, by His grace and power, more and more live up to it as sons and dear children of the Father glorious!

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