Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, April 17, 2021

Shabbat Shalom *|FNAME|*,

Day 14 of counting the Omer

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹֽמֶר

Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-Olam, Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav, Vitzivanu Al Sefirat Ha-Omer.

Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by his commandments and commanded us about the counting of the Omer.  Today is two weeks and no days of the counting of the omer.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Sat 17 Apr-2021 5th of Iyar, 5781 Parashat Tazria-Metzora Le 15:16-33 2 Ki 7:3-20 Rev 21:1-8

You’ve Been Chosen by David Harwood

Today we’re introducing a vital aspect of each believer’s inner-narrative. Here it is: 

You have been chosen.

You responded to the Father who called you into a relationship with His Son. 

God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9 TLV) 

Upon that basis, God chose you. Yeshua said, 

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14 TLV) 

Many do not respond to the initial call to return to God and develop a relationship with the Lord. Those who do respond, become recipients of God’s choice.  What is the nature of that choice? 

Out of relationship with Himself, God chooses each one to fulfill a purpose. Those who respond to the call get called.

In Romans 1 the same word is used to describe three types of calling. Paul was called to be an apostle (1:1), the believers are the called of the Messiah to salvation and are called to be holy (1:6-7a).

Paul, a slave of Messiah Yeshua, called to be an emissary and set apart for the Good News of God, (Romans 1:1 TLV) 

And you also are called to Yeshua the Messiah. 7 To all those in Rome, loved by God, called to be kedoshim: (Romans 1:6–7a TLV)

Paul’s call accompanied Paul’s call. The Messiah said to Ananias concerning him:

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a choice instrument to carry My name before nations and kings and Bnei-Yisrael. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15–16 TLV)

As with Paul, being called by God to Himself can involve a specific calling. The first call is to the Lord. As that relationship is pursued God confirms the second form of calling which is another result of God’s unique choice. 

While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Ruach ha-Kodesh said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2 TLV) 

The first purpose is to grow in your relationship with Him and His people. The outgrowth of that is the development of your gifts as you work out your initial calling.

There is a term used to describe the experience of those called to prophetic ministry: the Call Narrative. I’d like you to take a look at a principle. 

Some Background:

Since the overwhelming majority of Scripture was written specifically to the Jewish people we find that those who are called are normally part of Israel. This is not always (but usually is) the case, for instance God called Cyrus, a pagan king (Isaiah 44:28-45:13). 

Israel is described as being a called and chosen ethnic-family group. In the Call Narratives we read about a member of a called, chosen, group who was called and chosen as an individual. The person already had a destiny connected to his people’s purpose. Now the called and chosen person, within the called and chosen people, had a role to play in helping the people accomplish their calling, thus fulfilling the reason for God’s choice.

An Application:

You are a member of the Messiah’s Body. The Messianic Community has a corporate destiny to salvation and glory. You participate in that destiny. Within the context of your being called as part of this One New Man (Ephesians 2:15) you have been uniquely chosen. Founded upon your salvation, you have been chosen to fulfill a specific calling that will enable the believing community to fulfill the purpose of God’s elect community. 

That is generally called a ministry. 

You have been chosen to serve.

To Continue:

Many believe that being called in His election has nothing to do with His affection. Yet, there is an emotional component to God’s choice. God especially loves those who respond to His call. He chooses whom He loves.

Being chosen as elect, is a huge topic. We need to explore it a little bit. This is how Louw & Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines the Greek word translated “choice”: “to make a special choice based upon significant preference, often implying a strongly favorable attitude toward what is chosen.” (Louw-Nida)

This is brought out beautifully in Moses’ declaration to Israel found in Deuteronomy 7:7-8a.

It is not because you are more numerous than all the peoples that Adonai set His love on you and chose you—for you are the least of all peoples. 8 Rather, because of His love for you …(Deuteronomy 7:7–8a TLV)

Many think Adonai saw nothing in Israel to stir Him to choose them. Should they quote the entire oracle they tend to misrepresent the nature of His love and the reasons for His choice. 

(I’ve written about this in For the Sake of the Fathers and God’s True Love. If you want greater detail, I encourage you to get those books.)

Suffice it to say that Adonai found something He loved in Israel. In fact, He loved this people, so He chose them.

Rather, because of His love for you …(Deuteronomy 7:8a TLV)

Allow me to pose a question. Can you dare believe that God saw something about your heart that provoked Him to choose you? Is that too much to believe? If you deeply integrated that thought into your inner-narrative do you think you may be tempted to become arrogant? Fear not. Look at this:

Yet God chose the foolish things of the world so He might put to shame the wise; and God chose the weak things of the world so He might put to shame the strong; 28and God chose the lowly and despised things of the world, the things that are as nothing, so He might bring to nothing the things that are— 29so that no human might boast before God. (1 Corinthians 1:27–29 TLV)

This does not mean that He did not find what the world sees as lowly and despised to be worth loving. In fact, here’s a remarkable story about the choice of Israel’s true king.

It is written:

He also chose David His servant and took him from the sheepfolds, (Psalm 78:70 TLV)

Here’s what happened…

“Bring your sons to me,” Samuel said. 

Jesse didn’t even bother to summon David. 

Out of sight, out of mind, doing menial work, the youngest, the least physically imposing, the overlooked one. David was lowly and despised. 

God said, “Perfect,” and looking at David’s heart, the Lord couldn’t help but say, “I want that kid to be My earthly ancestor. Let’s choose him.” 

And it was so… 

Here’s the record of God revealing His choice.

For He does not see a man as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but Adonai looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b TLV)

Do you suppose God looked into your heart and saw something to love?  Ultimately, David had a keen sense of being chosen. Look how he spoke of himself to someone who was mocking him.

“It was before Adonai,” David said to Michal, “who chose me instead of your father and all his household, appointing me ruler over the people of Adonai, over Israel! So I danced Before Adonai, (2 Samuel 6:21 TLV)

You’ve been chosen, too.

Perhaps the best known verse that describes this reality is found in John 15. 

You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I selected you so that you would go and produce fruit, and your fruit would remain. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. (John 15:16 TLV)

Those imperfect, immature, fickle disciples were chosen, just as they were.   

In Closing, You Are a Chosen Person:

You’ve been chosen, too. Yes, you’ve been chosen for a specific relational role and for effective service. You’ve been chosen to be a member of Messiah’s Body. You’ve been chosen to participate in fulfilling God’s purposes. All of this is true, but remember, the primary reason you’ve been chosen is because God loves you and wants you to be in relationship with Him.

You have been chosen to be God’s child.

You have been chosen to be the Lord Yeshua’s sister/brother.

You have been chosen to be Yeshua’s friend.

Recognize and receive these realities. God has specifically chosen you because He has a unique love for you. You are created to be His special person, because He highly values you. In revealing His choice of you He is showing you that you have great worth and dignity.

In these meditations we’ve consistently stressed that you are God’s dwelling place. It’s true, God dwells in you. One thing we have not focused on until now is the matter of this being the result of His choice. You have been chosen to be His dwelling place.

Our next meditation will focus upon that relationship.

Meanwhile, please consider and reconsider that God’s choice of you is an indication of how much He loves you, not just because of His nature, and not a display of omnipotent volition, but because He finds you to be lovely.  In that sense, God believes in you.  You are highly precious; in His eyes, worthy of the Messiah’s sacrifice, He has called you into fellowship with Himself and chosen you for a purpose.

Shabbat Shalom, David