SPECIAL TOPIC: HE CHOSE US

I. OT

A. YHWH Chose Israel (taken from Deut. 14:2)

The verb (BDB 103, KB 119, Qal perfect) is used of God's sovereign choice of:

1. Abraham, Gen. 12:1; Neh. 9:7

2. the Patriarchs, Deut. 7:8

3. the descendants of the Patriarchs, Deut. 4:37; 10:15

4. Israel, Deut. 7:6; Ps. 135:4; Isa. 44:1,8; 43:10; Ezek. 20:5

5. Jeshurun (Israel or Jerusalem), Deut. 32:15; 33:5,26; Isa. 44:2

6. an Israeli king (a symbol of YHWH's rule, which would foreshadow David [cf. 1 Sam. 10:24; 16:8,9,10; 2 Sam. 6:21], who became a Messianic figure), Deut. 17:14-17

7. place for His name to dwell (i.e., central sanctuary), Deut. 12:5,11,14,18,21,26; 14:24; 15:20; 16:2,6,7,11,15; 17:8,10; 31:11

God's sovereignty and purpose is expressed in His choice of Israel. God's "choice" in the OT is always related to service, not necessarily salvation, as it is in the NT. Israel was to reveal YHWH to the whole world, so that all the world might be saved (cf. Gen. 12:3; quoted in Titus 2:14 and I Pet. 2:9). See Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan.

B. Moses Chooses Leaders/Judges – YHWH Appoints them (taken from Deut. 1:13)

This verb (BDB 396, KB 393) is a Qal imperative. Notice that Moses was commanding the people (i.e., their leaders) to take responsibility (they choose) for the community along with himself (Moses appoints). These new judges (i.e., tribal leaders) were to be:

1. "wise" – (BDB 314) meaning capable of thoughtful and godly choices (e.g., Joseph, Gen. 41:33,39; David, 2 Sam. 14:20; Solomon, 1 Kgs. 2:9; 3:12; 5:21)

2. "discerning" – (BDB 106, KB 122, Niphal participle) meaning someone who has discretion, discernment, and intelligence (e.g., Joseph, Gen. 41:33; negative in Jer. 4:22)

3. "experience" – (BDB 393, KB 390, Qal passive participle). This is a common word with a large semantic field.

a. NASB, TEV, NJB, JPSOA – experienced

b. NKJB – knowledgeable

c. NRSV, REB – reputable

d. JB – tested

e. NIV – respected

f. NET – known

 4. "I will appoint them" – The verb (BDB 962, KB 1321) is a Qal imperfect, used in the sense of a cohortative. Moses set or appointed these chosen men to places of leadership and judgment (e.g., Exod. 1:11; 18:21; Deut. 17:14,15; Jdgs. 11:11). However, in reality, it was YHWH who "took" (BDB 542, KB 534, Qal imperfect, Deut. 1:15) them, which denotes God's choice (e.g., Deut. 4:20,34; 1 Kgs. 11:37). The human process followed a divine plan!

C. YHWH Chose a King (taken from Deut. 17:14)

1. "and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me'"

The verb is a Qal cohortative (BDB 962, KB 1321). It is repeated four times in Deut. 17:14 and 15. The second (Qal infinitive absolute) and third (Qal imperfect) usages go together as a way of intensification:

a. NASB, NKJV "you shall surely set"

b. NRSV "you may indeed set"

c. TEV "be sure"

The problem was not a king, but a "king ‘like all the nations who are around me'"! The king was to represent YHWH (cf. Deut. 17: 8), not Oriental pagan courts. This very issue is dealt with when Israel asked Samuel for a king in 1 Samuel 8.

2. "whom the Lord your God chooses"

God is sovereign, He (not Israel, cf. Deut. 17:14) chooses the man, but Israel confirms His choice by their affirmation (e.g., Jdgs. 11:11; Hos. 1:11).

Notice the guidelines for kingship: 

a. when Israel possesses the land, Deut. 17:14

b. one whom YHWH chooses, Deut. 17:15

c. not a foreigner, Deut. 17:15

d. he shall not trust in military armament ("multiply horses"), Deut. 17:16

e. he shall not seek help from Egypt, Deut. 17:16

f. he shall not trust in political allegiances ("multiply wives"), Deut. 17:17

g. he shall not trust in wealth ("increase silver and gold"), Deut. 17:17

Numbers 4-7 reflect Solomon's abuses! It is unique in ancient Near Eastern law that the king has his powers limited, but in Israel God:

a. sets the place and procedures of justice

b. sets the pattern of worship

c. sets limits on kingly power, succession, and wealth

d. the king is one among many covenant partners (cf. Deut. 17:20)

e. the king must study regularly and implement (personally and officially) God's laws (cf. Deut. 17:18-19)

 

II. NT (from Ephesians 1)

A. Eph. 1:3 – "He chose us" is an aorist middle indicative which emphasized the subject's decisive choice. This focused on the Father's choice before time. God's choice must not be understood in the Islamic sense of determinism nor in the ultra Calvinistic sense of "God chooses some versus God did not choose others," but in a covenantal sense. God promised to redeem fallen mankind (cf. Gen. 3:15). God called and chose Abraham to choose all humans (see Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan). God Himself elected all persons who would exercise faith in Christ (cf. John 1:12; 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 John 2:2; 4:14). God always takes the initiative in salvation (cf. John 6:44, 65), but humans must respond in repentance, faith, obedience, and perseverance. This text (Eph. 1:4) and Rom. 8:28-30; 9:1-33 are the main NT texts for the doctrine of predestination emphasized by Augustine and Calvin (see Special Topics).

     God chose believers not only to salvation (justification) but also to sanctification (cf. Eph. 1:4; 2:8-10; Col. 1:12)! This could relate to

1. our position in Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21)

2. God's desire to reproduce His character in His children (cf. Eph. 2:10; Rom. 8:28-29; Gal. 4:19; 1 Thess. 4:3)

God's will for His children is both heaven one day and Christlikeness now!

B. Eph. 1:4 – "that we should be holy and blameless before Him"

The goal of predestination is holiness, not privilege. God's call is not to a selected few of Adam's children, but to all! It is a call to be what God intended mankind to be, like Himself (cf. Rom. 8:28-30; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 4:13; 1 Thess. 4:7; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:13; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:15); in His image (cf. Gen. 1:26-27). To turn predestination into a theological tenet instead of a holy life is a tragedy. Often our a priori systematic theologies speak louder than biblical texts! The term "blameless" (amōmos) or "free from blemish" is used of

1. Jesus, (cf. Heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 1:19)

2. Zacharias and Elizabeth, (cf. Luke 1:6)

3. Paul (cf. Phil 3:6)

4. all true Christians (cf. Phil. 2:15; 1 Thess. 3:13; 5:23)

     God's unalterable will for every believer is not only heaven later, but Christlikeness now (cf. Rom. 8:29-30; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 4:19; 1 Thess. 3:13; 4:3; 1 Pet. 1:15). Believers are to reflect God's characteristics to a lost world for the purpose of evangelism.

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