Reading: Psalm 78
He prepared a path for his anger;
he did not spare them from death
but gave them over to the plague.
He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt,
the firstfruits of manhood in the tents of Ham.
But he brought his people out like a flock;
he led them like sheep through the wilderness.
He guided them safely, so they were unafraid;
but the sea engulfed their enemies.
And so he brought them to the border of his holy land,
to the hill country his right hand had taken.
He drove out nations before them
and allotted their lands to them as an inheritance;
he settled the tribes of Israel in their homes (NIV).*
Understanding God’s choice is not a simple matter. Today’s reading from Psalm 78 draws our attention to the choices God makes. Why did God choose the people of Israel? Why did He decide to get behind this rebellious people? Why did the LORD throw His active support behind a slave revolt? Why did He show mercy to Israel, but pour out His wrath on Egypt?
Of course we can ask the same questions on a personal level. Why did God choose to save me from my personal pile of sin and destructive habits? Why did He show me the incredible love of Jesus through his death on the cross? Why did the message of the gospel touch me so deeply and transform me so radically, while it bounced off others around me like a babble of meaningless words?
We may never know the answers to these questions. What I do know is that God did not choose the best and the greatest when He chose Israel. Furthermore, at this present time, God overlooked the best and the greatest and instead He chose you and me. St. Paul writes, “My dear friends, remember what you were when God chose you. The people of this world didn’t think that many of you were wise. Only a few of you were in places of power, and not many of you came from important families. But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame” (1 Corinthians 1:26-27, CEV).
St. Paul writes, “The god who rules this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They cannot see the light, which is the good news about our glorious Christ, who shows what God is like” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Why does the light go on for some, but not for others? We could spend an eternity pondering these questions and not arrive at a satisfactory answer. Ultimately, we must allow God to be God. We did not choose Him, but rather He chose us and for that we can be eternally grateful.
Response: LORD God, I am thankful that your Spirit sought me out and drew me to the cross of Jesus. I bow before you in praise and gratitude. I pray that you will show the same mercy to many others. Give me a heart of compassion for those who have not experienced your saving grace. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you understand God’s sovereign choice? How do you respond?
* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
Some good news: The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz will be published in November, 2020, by Elk Lake Publishing. Two additional volumes will follow in 2021 to complete the three volume set of devotions from the Psalms.