Friday, April 25, 2014
Shabbat Shalom all,
Tonight I want to briefly discuss what it truly means to be a chosen people! And so in a short message tonight called, “THE CHOICE OF THE CHOSEN!” I want us to be encouraged and equipped in the Good News of us being a chosen people, and the responsibilities that come with being chosen! I have no central or theme passage that I will be working from tonight, but will be utilising various verses from Scripture in order for us to grasp the concept of being chosen!
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 7:6 “For you are a set-apart people to יהוה your Elohim. יהוה your Elohim has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a treasured possession above all the peoples on the face of the earth.”
This verse is referred to by Kěpha in his first letter, as he reminds us of this very fact that we are a chosen people, in:
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a people for a possession, that you should proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light, 10 who once were not a people, but now the people of Elohim; who had not obtained compassion, but now obtained compassion.”
SET-APART – CHOSEN – TREASURED POSSESSION!!!
While we all may know and be able to recite these verses, I often wonder how much we actually understand what this means and entails for us! Once we were ‘nobodies’, and now we are not just simply a ‘somebody’, but rather, we are the chosen people of Elohim! A people He has chosen and called out of darkness into His marvellous Light – but for what purpose some may ask? To be a people for Himself!!! He does not want to share us with another, and so He chose us for Himself. So much so that we are totally different to the world and those who still walk around in darkness, for we are a set-apart people! The Hebrew word for ‘set-apart’ is קָדוֹשׁ qadosh – Strong’s H6918 meaning, ‘consecrated, set-apart’ – and a Set-Apart nation implies just what it says – we are to be in a league of our own – so different from the world that it is clearly seen!!! This can only happen if we actually hear-guard and do all Elohim has commanded us to do, without debating and reasoning why we should not - as the world does! The Greek word for ‘set-apart’ is ἅγιος hagios – Strong’s G40 and its fundamental idea is one of ‘separation, consecration, and devotion to the service of Elohim’, sharing in Elohim’s purity and abstaining from the defilement of the flesh, by being clothed in and walking in righteousness, that is from Elohim!
To ‘consecrate’ means ‘to make or declare to be set-apart and be devoted to a purpose with the deepest irrevocable dedication’. We as a chosen, set-apart and royal priesthood unto Elohim, declare and make our lives solely devoted to the purpose of serving and worshipping יהוה our Elohim, and as we have certainly learnt through the Torah portions of ‘drawing near’ to Elohim, that we can only do so by the Blood of Messiah as we are continually being set-apart in Him through an on-going process of being sanctified as a people for a possession.
Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 “For this is the desire of Elohim: your set-apartness! – that you should abstain from whoring, 4 that each one of you should know how to possess his own vessel in set-apartness and respect, 5 not in passion of lust, like the gentiles who do not know Elohim, 6 not to overstep and take advantage of his brother in this matter, because the Master is the revenger of all such, as we indeed said to you before and earnestly warned. 7 For Elohim did not call us to uncleanness, but in set-apartness.”
The Hebrew word for ‘treasured possession’ is סְגֻלָּה segullah – Strong’s H5459 meaning ‘valued possession or property’. This could also be expressed as “My uniquely valued and guarded treasure above all the nations”! How awesome is that!!! A hearing, guarding and doing people are the uniquely valued and guarded treasure of יהוה’s; that is to say that He holds us firmly in His hand and never takes His eyes off of us; and He guards us continually so as to never let us go, for we are extremely valued and precious to Him. When outsiders look at us they may see it as being locked away in a box, thinking that we ‘have to do’ things that are not required by them and claim erroneously that we have lost our rights and are ‘under law’ so to speak – but it is not so – we are kept secure and safe and are a prized possession.
True overcomers in Messiah are His ‘segullah’!!!
In the Greek the word used for ‘a possession’ is περιποίησις peripoiēsis – Strong’s G4047 which means, ‘purchased possession, preservation, acquisition, peculiar, property’. We, as a set-apart people unto Elohim, have been sealed with Set-apart Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession! Peculiar and set-apart – that is to be completely different to the rest! How different are you to the rest of the world?
What makes us set-apart and a peculiar treasured possession, is that we have been chosen by Elohim to be His own.
The Hebrew word for ‘chosen’ is בָּחַר baḥar – Strong’s H977 and means, ‘to choose, choicest, selected, preferred’, and this word is used to express that choosing which has ultimate and eternal significance. We see in Scripture how יהוה chooses a people, certain tribes, specific individuals, and a place for His Name; and in all these cases service and obedience is at the heart of the choosing. Thus יהוה chose Yisra’ĕl to be set-apart and thereby to serve as His witness among the nations. His choosing us has eternal significance!!! His choice is forever!!! The expected response of the chosen is loving obedience and complete commitment in uncompromised service to the One who has chosen us!
Yoḥanan/John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name He might give you.”
יהושע makes it very clear to us here in Yoḥanan/John 15 that we did not choose Him, but He chose us – and our acceptance to His choosing implies that we understand and acknowledge our needed response, which is to obey, and in doing so we relinquish and forfeit all ‘choice for self’ – simply because we accept our choosing and realise that we are no longer our own, but rather belong to Him who has purchased us with His own Blood – hence we are called The Chosen!
While this may seem fairly obvious at first glance, and it should; what we do find is that many do not recognise the consequence of their acceptance of the great choosing of Elohim upon their lives, for they simply continue to make ‘bad choices’ that render their garments defiled before the One who has chosen us and clothed us with His righteousness!
יהוה’s ‘choosing’ of Yisra’ĕl was not because of being bigger and better than other nations!
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 7:7-8 “יהוה did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more numerous than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples, 8 but because of יהוה loving you, and because of Him guarding the oath which He swore to your fathers, יהוה has brought you out with a strong hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh sovereign of Mitsrayim.”
יהוה’s loving-commitment to His oath that He swore to Aḇraham, Yitsḥaq and Ya’aqob is what has caused us to be a people that are ‘chosen’ in the Beloved!
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 10:14-16 “See, the heavens and the heaven of heavens belong to יהוה your Elohim, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 “יהוה delighted only in your fathers, to love them. And He chose their seed after them, you above all peoples, as it is today. 16 “And you shall circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and harden your neck no more.”
Because of His great love for our fathers, He chose their seed – that is us, and because of His choosing us, He expects us to walk humbly before Him and cut away the foreskin of our heart, rolling away the reproach of wickedness and sin that breeds therein; and be stiff-necked no more!
Because of His lovingly-committed choice for us, we too must respond by making the clear choice to serve Him and cling to Him with our all:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 30:19-20 “I have called the heavens and the earth as witnesses today against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore you shall choose life, so that you live, both you and your seed, 20 to love יהוה your Elohim, to obey His voice, and to cling to Him – for He is your life and the length of your days – to dwell in the land which יהוה swore to your fathers, to Aḇraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Ya’aqoḇ, to give them.”
We, the chosen, are called to choose life! The Torah is our life! And in choosing life, we choose to love, obey and cling to Elohim by guarding His Torah that leads us in the Way of Set-Apartness!
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 32:45-47 “And when Mosheh ended speaking all these words to all Yisra’ĕl, 46 he said to them, “Set your heart on all the words with which I warn you today, so that you command your children to guard to do all the Words of this Torah. 47 “For it is not a worthless Word for you, because it is your life, and by this Word you prolong your days on the soil which you pass over the Yardĕn to possess.”
The Words of this Torah is not worthless – it is our life! The Living Word – The Word made flesh - יהושע Messiah - is our life!!! In Speaking of יהושע Messiah, Sha’ul tells us in:
Romiyim/Romans 10:6-7 “But the righteousness of belief speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who shall ascend into the heavens?’ ” – that is, to bring Messiah down; or, 7 “ ‘Who shall descend into the abyss?’ ” – that is, to bring Messiah up from the dead.”
Sha’ul was quoting from:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 30:11-14 “For this command which I am commanding you today, it is not too hard for you, nor is it far off. 12 “It is not in the heavens, to say, ‘Who shall ascend into the heavens for us, and bring it to us, and cause us to hear it, so that we do it?’ 13 “Nor is it beyond the sea, to say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, and cause us to hear it, so that we do it?’ 14 “For the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart – to do it.”
יהושע Messiah is the One who came down, and He is the One who came up from the dead and He has made His Word – His Torah – alive in us, in order that we, the chosen, can live set-apart lives unto Him!
יהושע Messiah is our life – and we choose Life!!! That being said, we must recognise the clear consequences of such a choice – for by choosing יהושע Messiah, we are in fact choosing to love, obey and cling to His Torah!!! Sadly there are many who do not understand this, and think that they have a choice not to obey! While Yisra’ĕl, being chosen, did not cling to יהוה and His Torah, יהוה’s loving commitment to His oath stands firm forever and after a new generation had passed over the Yardĕn, Yehoshua called for this chosen nation to make a choice, as he says in his closing speech:
Yehoshua/Joshua 24:14-15 “And now, fear יהוה, serve Him in perfection and in truth, and put away the mighty ones which your fathers served beyond the River and in Mitsrayim, and serve יהוה! 15 “And if it seems evil in your eyes to serve יהוה, choose for yourselves this day whom you are going to serve, whether the mighty ones which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the mighty ones of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But I and my house, we serve יהוה.”
The call is clear – fear יהוה and serve Him in Truth, however if you think that it is evil to do so, then choose today who you are going to serve! The ‘choice’ to serve who you want to, is given to those who have not fully accepted the ‘choosing’ of Elohim! For those who have fully accepted and responded to the clear ‘choosing’ of Elohim, are called to fear Him and serve Him in perfection and truth, and in that acceptance the responsibility is clear – put away all falsehood and idolatry, that leads to death! What I am trying to make clear here is that when we have understood the clear ‘choosing’ of Elohim, there is actually no more ‘choosing’ that we get to do, when it comes to fearing and serving in perfection and truth!
In our understanding of the difference between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, we have discussed in the past that the difference between the two is the difference between being ‘functional’ or ‘dysfunctional’.
The Hebrew word for ‘good’ is טוֹב toḇ – Strong’s H2896 and carries the meaning, ‘pleasant, good, agreeable, beautiful, to be pleasing, done well’. In the true understanding of this word טוֹב toḇ we can see that it may best be translated in most cases as ‘functional’, for when יהוה said in Berěshith/Genesis 1:31 that when He saw all that He had made, that He said it was very good. What He saw was His creation functioning properly and working the way it should and this is why it was ‘good’. The opposite to טוֹב toḇ (good) is evil which is Hebrew is רַע ra – Strong’s H7451 meaning, ‘bad, evil, wicked, harmful’. The tree of knowledge in the garden was of טוֹב toḇ (good) and רַע ra (evil)!
Just as we understand that טוֹב toḇ represents that which is ‘functional’, we can then see that רַע ra represents that which is ‘dysfunctional’, which simply put speaks of that which reveals and abnormal and unhealthy lifestyle that is not functioning as it should.
We may often think something is good, yet if it is not ‘functional’ according to the plumb line of the Torah of יהוה, then we had best be careful to consider our steps!
Understanding this then further helps us grasp the reality of how so many make their own choices to do as they please, especially when true obedience and the serving of יהוה in perfection and truth is seen as dysfunctional in their eyes!!!
We have heard people say that the keeping of Sabbath ‘will not work for them’ as it is inconvenient, and therefore they choose to follow an inherited system of lies, deception and dysfunction over the Truth! This simple reveals that they have not fully acknowledged nor accepted יהוה’s ‘choosing’!
By our acceptance of His choosing us, we by default clearly ‘choose’ to ‘pick up the Torah and guard to do it’!
Shemuʼěl Aleph/1 Samuel 17:40 “And he took his staff in his hand, and chose for himself five smooth stones from the wadi, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.”
With Dawiḏ being unarmed in the worlds eyes, he went and picked up five smooth stones from the wadi and drew near to Golyath. This is a powerful picture of how we are able to be more than overcomers in Messiah, as we face great and dangerous battles on a daily basis. We too, with the staff in our hand – symbolic of the Authority of Messiah, have by our acceptance of His redemption over our lives, chose on the day we called on Him for our deliverance, to guard to do all He has commanded us – and this is our armour in which we stand firm, being dressed in His clear instructions of righteousness, to be worn by His set-apart and chosen forever!
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:25 “And it is righteousness for us when we guard to do all this command before יהוה our Elohim, as He has commanded us.”
Tehillim/Psalm 119:142 “Your righteousness is righteousness forever, and Your Torah is truth.”
If righteousness is forever (which it is as is written), and if it is righteousness for us to guard the commands (which it is as is written), and the Torah is Truth (which is it as is written) – then we are to walk in the Torah forever!!! How can it be done away with – sadly many have chosen to serve falsehood, for it seems evil in their eyes to serve יהוה.
Tehillim/Psalm 25:12 “Who, then, is the man that fears יהוה? He teaches him in the way he should choose.”
The one who truly fears יהוה meditates upon His Torah day and night and is taught in the way He has chosen to walk!
Dawiḏ proclaims in:
Tehillim/Psalm 119:30 “I have chosen the way of truth; Your right-rulings I have held level.”
Tehillim/Psalm 119:173 “Your hand is a help to me, for I have chosen Your orders.”
When we have firmly accepted His choosing of us, we are able to understand how His Hand is our Help and by choosing Him, we see how His right-rulings keep us level headed and able to stand firm!
Mattithyahu/Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The Greek word for ‘chosen’ is ἐκλεκτός eklektos – Strong’s G1588 which means, ‘chosen, elect, favourite, picked out’. The Greek word for ‘called’ is κλητός klētos – Strong’s G2822 and means, ‘called, invited (to a banquet)’, and so we are able to see how the wedding invitation has gone out to many, yet as in the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, יהושע Messiah tells us how many are too busy with their own agendas, and were found not worthy. The command was then given to go and find whoever they could. The banquet was full and when the Sovereign came in, the one who was not properly dressed was thrown out!
Today there are many who simply refuse the invitation and acceptance to the choosing of Elohim, while some hear the call, yet refuse to acknowledge the expected requirements of being dressed in Righteousness, as they have hated the instructions of Elohim and cast His words behind them – they shall be cast out – all because they ‘chose’ for themselves that serving Elohim is evil!!!
The choice of the chosen is clearly made upon the acceptance of His choosing! This being said, it is then very clear that our ability to choose how we are to serve is not optional. The only choice we are given after our being chosen, is to choose to serve another, if fearing and serving Elohim is evil and dysfunctional in our eyes!
I wonder how many people who claim to fear יהוה and serve Him in perfection and truth, still think that they have a choice in how they are to serve Him?
Think about it for a moment:
Being chosen, do we have a choice on ‘how’ we obey? NO!
Being chosen, can we choose to ignore His dietary requirements on what we can or cannot eat? NO!
Being chosen, can we (as men) choose to shave our beards just because we may prefer a smoother look? NO!
Being chosen, can we choose on how or when we feel like tithing? NO!
Being chosen, can we choose not to forgive others? NO!
Being chosen, can we choose not to gather on יהוה’s Appointed Times? NO!
I could go on and on, yet what I am trying to point out here is that by us being a set-apart, chosen and treasured possession of Elohim, we who desire to love, obey and cling to Him and serve Him with our all, have no choice in deciding whether we want to do what is commanded or not – our choice to obey was made the day we accepted His choice for us!
The choice of the chosen has been made! Have you changed your mind? Have you found yourself in a situation where you have chosen to compromise? Have you found yourself reasoning away obedience by claiming a right to make your own choices?
NOW HEAR – YOU CHOSEN SERVANTS OF יהוה – be faithful witnesses of His Truth as you guard to do all He commands us; and walk in righteousness as you walk in His Torah, meditating on it day and night; and as you walk in and stay in Him – walk as יהושע Messiah did.
He who has ears let him hear what the Spirit says! Are there any forms of idolatry in your life that needs to be destroyed? Are there some things that you have fashioned with your own thoughts and choices, only to find that you have been chasing after that which is as ‘the feeding on ashes’, and is worthless and empty? Hear the urgent call to hear the One who formed you and follow Him and serve as a chosen one should!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!