“In the New Testament church it says they were all amazed – And now in our churches everybody wants to be amused.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill
Matthew 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
Many are called, but few are chosen! What a statement! Who are the called? I believe God is calling to people everywhere to repent and turn to Him. All people everywhere are called to return to God and turn from their sins.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:
What does it mean to be chosen? I believe the chosen are those who have responded to the call, are now believers and who have dedicated their lives to Jesus. It is possible to be called and respond to the call and receive Jesus as Savior and still not receive Him as Lord and Master. Many, many people sit in pews every week who proclaim Jesus is their Savior but have not surrendered all to Him nor will they. They are content to have fire insurance so to speak and are not really interested in the whole life plan. Being chosen was not part of God’s original plan. Initially all of humanity was to serve the role of God’s messengers, but after the fall of Adam and Eve, humanity lost that privilege. Only Noah, then Abraham chose to pick up and assume the mantle. Now, we as descendants of Abraham assume our role in wearing that mantle and carrying the cross as we follow Jesus.
The essence of being chosen means responsibility. It is both a privilege and a responsibility to change the world – one person at a time. I believe the first door we face in the process of becoming one of the chosen is that of total surrender. We come to a place where we must make the Lord the absolute Lord of our life. The Lord must have first place in our heart, soul, mind and Spirit. Jesus told us to go and make disciples:
Mark 16:15-18 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
As chosen vessels we live out our lives adhering to a code of ethics, morals, standards and beliefs in one God and His Son Jesus. In that way, we influence the rest of mankind, and are a light unto the nations.
Isaiah 42:6-7 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
Through God’s work we are made his sons. Through Jesus Christ we are able to carry out God’s mission. Again we see the all-encompassing centrality of God’s plan. God’s mission unifies everything in the universe and at the same time holds all of creation together. He alone knew the end from the very beginning!
Deuteronomy 14:2 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.
One thing I learned after going through the adoption process is that the child or person being adopted often has separation anxiety because they were separated from their natural parents. We were taught to mitigate that by telling them that they were chosen. Or, that they were and are wanted and that they have a place where they are now as a part of this new family. God, in His awesome benevolence does that for us too. He calls us chosen because He is omniscient and he chose us, then drew us and wooed us until we turned and accepted Jesus. He knew we needed to feel like we are wanted so He made provision for that all along – from the very beginning. He knew before He began the work on the foundation of the world who would love Him this very day. And, He knew we were orphans and that we would feel like orphans so He made a way for us to feel special, to feel wanted. Ponder these assertions of His love and our position in Him:
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
1 Corinthians 1:27-28 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
Ephesians 1:4-6 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
As I sought God for help in understanding what He meant by these verses, I am drawn back to where we started: “many are called, but few are chosen.” This is Jesus’ conclusion to the parable of the wedding feast, found in Matthew 22:1-14. In this parable, a king is preparing a wedding feast for his son. The important people that he invited to the wedding refused to come, even after multiple invitations. So the king sent his servants out into the streets and invited anyone they could find to come.
Many people accepted the invitation. One man came to the banquet, but refused the wedding clothes provided for Him (the Bible does not say they were provided for Him, but providing special wedding clothes to the guests was the custom of the day). He was promptly expelled from the banquet, into outer darkness. Then Jesus says, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
This seems to say that to be chosen (Greek eklektos is the same word as the one used in Ephesians 1:4 which means called out ones), all one has to do is to accept the invitation to follow God and put on the new clothes which means to put on Jesus and His righteousness rather than relying upon our own righteousness. That seems pretty simple.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Being chosen is a remarkable position to hold, one of adoption into God’s own family and one of great responsibility. Our lives must reflect glory, honor and praise on our King and be an offering of sweet smelling fragrances to the Lord of all creation.
1 Peter 2:4-5 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
We are precious to the Lord. He delights in us, in our faith and our reliance upon Him! He delights in our worship and adoration of Him! We are chosen to be His priests and warriors of light – soldiers of God! We are hand-picked by God himself!
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
When I consider the people the Lord chose: Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Israel, David, Solomon, Jesurun, Zerubbabel, Jesus and His disciples, Zerubbabel stands out to me. There is a very strong connection between Zerubbabel (means the one sown of Babylon) and being chosen. He is mentioned 21 times in the King James Version of the Holy Bible and all but one of those references is referring to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel who became the governor of Judah. He was the governor of the return from Persia recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah who was prophesied to by Haggai and Zechariah. The whole story suggests a framework for the chosen of God. Bear with me as I traverse this framework:
- The Lord positions the initiate and calls to him
- The initiate obeys the voice of the Lord
- The Lord stirs up the Spirit of the obedient
- The Lord chooses to give His authority to the obedient
- The Lord gives His Spirit and grace to His chosen
- The Lord is strong for and towards His chosen
Haggai 1:1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,
Haggai 1:12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD.
Haggai 1:14 And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,
Haggai tells us that the Lord called to Zerubbable and Joshua and they obeyed the voice of the Lord, and the Lord stirred up their Spirits and those of the people so they could do the work on the house of the Lord. The Lord goes on to tell them to be strong because He is with them.
Haggai 2:4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:
Then the Lord tells Zerubbabel that He was making him like a signet ring, or as one with authority from the King. He tells him that he was chosen by the Lord and being a signet for the Lord means Zerubbabel has authority in all Kingdom matters pertaining to the Lord.
Haggai 2:23 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.
Now, Zechariah jumps into the picture and tells Zerubbabel that it will not be done with power or might, but by the Spirit. He goes on to address the mountain of opposition facing Zerubbabel and declares it will become a plain and that the headstone with be brought forth with shouts of Grace, Grace!
Zechariah 4:6-7 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.
The chosen live by faith in grace and not by works, but our works are clearly seen by all those who dare to look.
Zechariah 4:9-10 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.
2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.
The Lord will show Himself to be strong for those whose heart is perfect towards him! Hallelujah! What a promise!
Father, we thank you and praise you for your wonderful loving-kindness in drawing us to you and continuing to woo us until we turned and saw Jesus so we could become the adopted sons and daughters of God! Thank you for choosing us! Thank you for not giving up on us and remaining steadfast in your pursuit of us. You are an amazing and loving Father and we adore you! We worship you alone for you alone are worthy of all our praise, all our love and all of our very lives – our very essence which began with you too! Father, please help us to get this understanding of who we are In Christ, down deep in our spirits so we can walk out our lives as true children of glory. Help us to put all the cares and weights of this life aside and focus on Jesus and the great commission He gave us to accomplish. We praise you Father! We worship you Father! We love and adore you! In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.