Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: I’ve Been Chosen
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Conjunctions. They are an important part of language. Conjunctions are words that connect thoughts and ideas. Sometimes they are comparative, as in the case of the word “also”. Sometimes they highlight a contrast, like “however” and “but”. Peter starts today’s Scripture with a contrasting conjunction. What he is about to say is to be considered as opposing what he just said. He has just stated that the Living Stone of Jesus Christ is a stumbling block to some, and because they choose not to believe, they will fulfill their destiny which was in them from birth because of their sin nature.
But – there it is, the contrasting conjunction – those who believe in the Living Stone have a different destiny: one chosen by Christ Himself. He will not stumble because he belongs to God.
Way back in the early 1800’s, Pastor John Keble, after whom Keble College in Oxford, England is named, wrote this poem –
Look in, and see Christ’s chosen saint
In triumph wear his Christ-like chain;
No fear lest he should swerve or faint;
His life is Christ, his death is gain.
John Keble (1792–1866)
When I was a little boy, I hated standing in line while a boy much bigger and more athletic than I served as the captain of a team to which He would choose players. I hated it because I knew that my skinny, scrawny body would not appeal to him as a potential team member. I had been the last one chosen too many times, but I kept getting in that line. I wanted to be chosen. I wanted my name to be called.
Even though it really hurt to be called last, I learned that once I was on the team, I was able to improve my skills by playing the game. I would go wherever the captain said and do my best. Soon, I wasn’t the last one being called.
I understand and am overwhelmed by the knowledge that God chose me and then called me. He made me somebody when I was nobody. He gave me a place to belong and an identity when I had neither. Oswald Chambers, the great devotional writer, said, “‘I have chosen you.’ Keep that note of greatness in your creed. It is not that you have got God, but that he has got you. Why is God at work in me, bending, breaking, moulding, doing just as he chooses? For one purpose only—that he may be able to say, ‘This is my man, my woman.’” Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)
I like that – God wants to say about me, “This is my man.” Peter says that my response to being chosen is that I will say, “This is my God.” We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people belonging to God for one primary purpose of God – to declare His praises. Unfortunately, in the church today, most people live as though they’re frozen not chosen. I would suggest that those who act frozen don’t comprehend the magnitude of being chosen.
Keith Robinson, in The Encourager, writes: “When God wanted to authenticate Himself to the ancient world, He called His nation Israel as witness. ‘You are my witnesses,’ He said, testimony that ‘I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the Lord’ (Isa. 48:10). The people of God served as the undeniable proof of God.
“God’s people still offer the most basic and best proof of God. A changed life is still the best testimony of God’s power. Divine love reflected in a Christian heart which accepts, forgives and loves the unlovable is still the best witness of the nature of God. Hope that will not die is still the best proof of eternal life. Faith which cannot be shaken even in the face of death is still the best demonstration of the immutability of God’s promises.
“We who have been granted the imponderable privilege of partaking in the divine nature, are the witnesses, the demonstration, the proof of the divine presence in the world. Books and lessons and sermons and reason may have their place, but the real test is in the lives of God’s chosen people. If that proof is not clear and constant, everything else is just hearsay.”
I close with this poem from John Milton –
Let us, with a gladsome mind,
Praise the Lord, for he is kind:
For his mercies aye endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.
Let us blaze his name abroad,
For of gods he is the God:
He, with all-commanding might,
Filled the new-made world with light:
All things living he doth feed,
His full hand supplies their need:
He his chosen race did bless
In the wasteful wilderness:
Let us then with gladsome mind
Praise the Lord, for he is kind.
You have been chosen. Live like a chosen child of God.