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โ€œ โ€ฆ the Lord your God will chooseโ€ (Deuteronomy 12.5)
In many places the bible tells us that God exercises choice. Deuteronomy 12.5 refers to the focal place of public worship in Israel, and is a phrase that occurs several times in the Old Testament. God chose where He should be worshipped and that was very important to Him. His people were to meet there and make their sacrifices and offerings together in that one place, a special place of His presence.
In other scriptures we learn that He chooses people. For example in Deuteronomy 17.15 it says โ€œyou may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose.โ€ It is God who chooses leaders for His people.
Next He blesses abundantly the people he chooses, giving them the security of a holy, spiritual dwelling place, a nearness to Himself and the satisfaction that comes from His provision for us: Psalm 65.4 โ€œBlessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!โ€. That is all for our good – as Psalm 73.28 says โ€œit is good to be near Godโ€.
He also shows us how to seek Him and serve Him – for example Isaiah 58.6 โ€œIs not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?โ€. His choice is not the traditional idea of a fast – sackcloth, ashes and a long face. Rather it is positive action to bring freedom, relief and comfort to those in need, both in a physical sense and a psychological sense, but even more so in a spiritual sense. Godโ€™s choice for our fasting is to benefit others. That pleases His heart.
God hasnโ€™t changed. He still chooses people, He still chooses leaders to serve His church, and He still blesses and teaches them all. We are some of the beneficiaries of His amazing love and generosity, and itโ€™s for a purpose.
Jesus told us in John 15.16 โ€œYou did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.โ€ We are chosen by the Father and by Jesus His Son for that purpose – to go and bear fruit for His kingdom and His glory: good, lasting fruit – and the blessing that brings is that our prayers will be acceptable before Him.
It may be starting to seem that we have been left with no choices in life, but that is far from true for God has blessed us with the precious gift of free will. We are made in his image so just as He exercises real choices so can we. The question is, how do we use that gift? I will return to that in a later โ€˜Thoughtโ€™ but here is one scripture to end with today that I believe is one of the most important for this point, the choice of where we place our faith. In Deuteronomy 30.19 Moses says โ€œI call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may liveโ€. I beseech you, if you havenโ€™t done so already, choose Jesus, choose life.
Every blessing
John