Chosen by God
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19 For I have chosen1 him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
We went down to Yellowstone Lake Thursday afternoon. We had the Kayak tied to the top of our car. We found out when we got there, that slowly over the course of the trip the wind had shifted the kayak. When we started the trip, the Kayak was straight with respect to the car but when we got there it was angled.
We never want to do this with God’s word. We never want to shift it to align with our thinking. Rather we want God’s word to shift our minds to align with Him.
This morning we have a word from God and that word is “chosen.”
Nehemiah 9:7 You are the LORD God, Who chose Abram, And brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans, And gave him the name Abraham;
God chose Abraham. What does this mean?
We must understand that when God gives us a word it means something far more than we understand, not something less.
For example, when God says he created the world in six days. The word create there means something greater than we can imagine. We might say that Bob created something out of wood, for example the floor of my house. When God creates He is doing something greater than that. Some people want to make the word less. They want to say that it took God millions of years and that He used evolution. When God uses the word create he does not mean something less he means something more.
Another example: “God so loved the world.” When God says He loves us it means something more than when we say that we love. People like to make the word love something less. They say that because God loves the world, He doesn’t really care about sin and wouldn’t ever punish people. This is making love less not greater. It is love that causes an earthly father to get angry when their children run into the street, start smoking or doing drugs, drink too much, party too much, stop coming to church etc. It is love that causes an earthly father to discipline their children. God’s love is greater not less. His love for us is what causes Him to not abide the sight of sin within us and seek to remove it from us. When God loved the world, this means something more.
Today we have the word “chosen.” Abraham was chosen by God. We have tendency to make this word mean something less than what it is. It means something more.
We pray that God would shift our thoughts to be in line with His and keep us from shifting His word to align with our thoughts.
God chose Abraham. What does this mean?
First, it means that God had every intention of meddling in Abraham’s life.
Our text says that God has known Abraham. For God to say that He has known Abraham means that He has taken a special interest in Abraham. He has been there for every step that Abraham has taken and He the Lord has himself directed those steps. It means that God has made himself an intimate part of Abraham’s life
We have this fascinating passage from the prophet Amos
Amos 3:1-2 Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying: 2 “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
What God is saying here is that because He has chosen Abraham and his descendants, He will make certain that they learn to walk rightly. He will discipline them. A father doesn’t care if another child learns to walk, but he goes to great lengths to make sure His children do. The Father has known Abraham and His descendants to make sure they learn to walk in faith.
This is what we see in the whole life of Abraham. Here is a man who step by step the Lord calls, promises, disciplines, visits, and praises, until Abraham has learned how to walk by faith. God molds him like a ball of clay into a shape God has chosen.
This is what it means to be called, chosen, known by God. It means that God takes hold of your life and does not let it go until He has made something out of it.
Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,
When God has chosen a person, he is going to meddle in their life. God chose Abraham and He has chosen you. He will mold you as He did Abraham.
Secondly it means that God is going to bring about His purpose
Why God chose Abraham instead of Job or Melchizedek, is a question we can never answer. But for what purpose did God choose Abraham that we can answer because God himself tells us. Our text tells us “in order that he might command his children after him.” Through those children He is going to bring the Messiah, through which He is going to save the world. God’s purpose is to restore the tree of life to mankind.
But notice that God makes it clear that He brings about this purpose even though that sounds backwards to us. The more God has know Abraham the more His children will taught. This sounds backwards to us. We would think the more we know God the more our children will be taught.
God’s logic often seems backwards to us. This is because we think like children.
4 year-old; Can we get a kitten
Father: I am allergic. We can’t be in the same house.
4 year-old: You could sleep outside.
We laugh because we can see that the child’s logic, thinking, and priorities are backwards but then we go and do the same thing to God. We talk to God like a child and God laughs because our thinking is backwards.
Human thinking: the more I know God the better I can teach my children
God’s Thinking: The more God knows you, the better He will bring about the teaching of your children.
We make God’s choosing less, when we think that it is our knowing of God, or our choosing of God that brings about God’s blessings in our life. That is not the case. It is God choosing us that produces his purpose in our life.
God has chosen you to bring about His purpose in your life.
Thirdly God has a part for you
The thing that really has to be stressed there is the phrase “a part.” It’s only a part and it is probably not the part you want.
God’s purpose for Abraham wasn’t just to create a nation of people who walked in His word. But our text continues “that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
What God has spoken to Abraham is that that through him “all the world will be blessed.” That means that through Abraham the Messiah will come. The Messiah who we heard about last week. The messiah who will restore to the world the tree of life.
Abraham’s part in God’s plan of salvation was to be rich and leave his father’s homeland, and become the highest example of what it means to live by faith. This is a part we would all like to play. But God does not have the same part for all of us.
Consider another passage that we all know and love.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
We often use this verse and think that it means that God will eventually bless our life the way that he did Abraham’s. But we forget that the “you” here is plural. It doesn’t say that God has a plan for you (sg, but for you (pl). God has a plan to give a future and a hope to His people.
Abraham’s part in God’s plan was to be the father of faith. Those to whom Jeremiah is speaking their part was to be slaves in Babylon, to have their whole life ripped away from them, to live in exile and never see their homeland again.
The comfort of this passage is not that we will go through a rough time and then become rich life Abraham. The comfort of this passage is that all though we may have a rough part to play in this world we along with all of God’s people will be brough through this world to His eternal life.
What it does mean is that God’s purpose is to bring us all to that tree of life. Abraham’s choosing and Abraham’s blessing was not for him alone but for us all. Whatever part we have is not for us alone but for us all as a church and as the people of God. God’s plan is to bring us all to the tree of life, to that garden which is before God’s throne.
God has chosen you.
Ephesians 1:5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will
He chose us for His purpose, to mold our life according to His will.
Ephesians 1:11 being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
He has grabbed hold of us and is not going to let go until he has reformed us according to “His will,” to bring about His purpose for His people.
God chose Abraham so that he might bring you back to the tree of life. Amen.