I Choose You
David Chadwick tells the story of being in a kickball game as a small child. When the time came for choosing teams, his big brother, Howard, choose him first. David said he felt like the king of the world that day because he knew his big brother wanted him.
Our reading this week echoes the same story for the nation of Israel and, I believe, for us as believers today. Look at Deuteronomy 7:6-8:
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, form the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
I believe you could read only this section in your devotions and fill up your heart for the entire week. But, let me point out a few key ideas to chew on. What does this passage say about God? He is a lover, who faithfully pursues and provides. He is Almighty and able to deliver loved ones in distress. He is not swayed by size, power or abilities, He loves because He loves.
What does that say about those He loves? We are treasured, not because of our resume, but because of His faithfulness. We cannot lose this love for any reason because we did nothing to deserve it (Look especially to Galatians 3 for a cross reference to this). We can trust that He is able to meet our deepest needs and take care of us for His greater good (Look at Romans 8:28 for this cross reference).
Yet, with all of this, God still requires us to make a choice. God’s sovereignty does not diminish human responsibility. So today, we are called to take Him at His word of His deep love for us, especially in tough times, and live in obedience toward our redeeming Savior. He is a Sovereign God that we choose to trust because He has been faithful in His choices.
Tips for Reading- (Interpretation tip #30)
Note: This section is help for Bible Reading in general. It will be building throughout the year under the topics of Observation (what the Scripture says), Interpretation (what it means) and Application (what it means to your life). Feel free to look back over last week to get the whole picture.
For the next few weeks, we’re going to look at deciphering figurative terms.
First of all, what’s the difference between “literal” and “figurative?” This is important because sometimes cults take real teachings in scripture and say they are just figurative. So how can you know? When you’re looking for literal interpretation it just means taking the language in its normal sense. Accepting it at face value, as if the writer is communicating in ways that people normally communicate. For example, when Jesus said, “I am the door,” you don’t need to look for hinges and a doorknob. It simply means He is the pathway into a new place. When He says, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” you don’t have to look for a hidden meaning. He is simply telling us to pay our taxes.
But, when plain sense doesn’t make common sense, here is a rule to follow. Don’t assume there’s a deeper spiritual meaning than the one that is obvious. We have to assume that the writers were normal, rational people who communicated in the same basic way that we do. Too many people “spiritualize” the text, trying to make it say everything except what it is plainly saying. An example is the book Song of Solomon. It has been taken to symbolize Christ and the Church and other things. But, instead, there’s a very simple interpretation that comes a lot closer to what was intended. The book is meant to celebrate love in a marriage.
I hope this principle will help you as you continue listening to God as you read through His word.
Notes from David’s Journal
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Deuteronomy 8. One particular verse stands out to me. It reads that God didn’t choose Israel because it was the strongest, or mightiest or most spectacular nation in the world. He chose them simply because he wanted to choose them! They were the ‘apple of his eye.’ His love abounded for them, so he chose to be their God and them His people. He then lavishly poured out his love in abundance on them. It was pure grace, given from the heart of God, not based on anything meritorious in them.
Wow, and I mean WOW!! Why? Because, the same is true for us. Jesus, in John 15, said we didn’t choose Him, but He chose us. Why? Was there anything meritorious in us to cause this selection? Not at all! It’s simply because of grace, His grace, directed to us and now living in us.
Grace cannot be earned. It’s not because of anything we can do. If so, we would have to worry whether it can ever be taken away because of something we do! Think about this: when God looks at you, He just loves you. His heart of love is poured out to you as is evidenced on the Cross! You are loved by the Beloved. You are accepted by God! Wow!
Ponder God’s amazing grace. Sing the hymn...several times! Reread Deuteronomy 8 and God’s election of Israel among all the nations of the earth. It’s what He feels toward you too!
I had a seminary professor who once quipped, “How odd of God to choose the Jews.” I guess that’s true, until you think how odd of God to choose any of us - broken, flawed, selfish creatures.
To Him be the glory forever and ever!!!