Thursday, 25 December 2014

Many are called … few are chosen. Are You?

Jesus says in Matthew 20:16 and Matthew 22:14: … for many be called, but few chosen.

Jesus uses this phrase twice in Matthew’s account of the Gospel. The phrase follows the parable of the workers being paid a wage for a day’s work and the parable of the wedding guest dressed inappropriately.

Is this phrase significant?

Have you ever heard the legalistic preacher condemning his audience using this text then saying Get right with God or get left behind! Or Turn or burn!  Or Repent or else you will not be chosen. You’ll be with the goats instead of the sheep!

They do.

They preach like this to get everyone into their law-abiding, Pharisee mentality. In the process they do nothing but help the elect of God fall from Grace (you can only fall from Grace if you enter back into the law).

What did Jesus say when He said in Matthew 20:16 and Matthew 22:14: for many be called, but few chosen?

So, what is it then?

Jesus was quoting a prophetic word and action from 1 Samuel 16 and Isaiah 41:9 when God called and chose His beloved.

The redemption plan of God is beautifully revealed in 1Sam 16. So, it will be worth our while to look at this prophetic action to understand better what it is that Jesus is saying.

The background

God sends the prophet Samuel to anoint David (his name meaning Beloved, a man after God’s heart) as the next king of Israel. This follows the demise of king Saul (his name meaning desired or beggar, borrower).

When Samuel arrives at Jesse's homestead, he  is requires of him to bring (call) all his sons before Samuel. God speaks to Samuel in every instance concerning the candidate appearing before him indicating whether he is the chosen one or not.

The first time the words called and chosen are used together in the Word of God is here in 1 Samuel 16:8 and it says Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this. In fact, the whole of 1 Samuel 16 makes for very interesting Hebrew wordplay with the words called and chosen.

You’ll recall that Jesse eventually called all his sons before Samuel and Samuel inquired whether there was another. When David appears before Samuel, God immediately says This is he! The beloved is chosen.

But how are these words significant?

I suspect digging deeper into the Hebrew will provide us with a better understanding of God’s Grace here.

Let’s see.

The Hebrew word for called is qâra' קָרָא meaning to proclaim, to summon. The word-picture or pictograph is most amazing depicting least person first.

The Hebrew word for chosen is bâchar בָּחַר meaning to elect, choose, decide. The pictograph here pictures the house (of God) in man revealed.

These Hebrew words together with their word-pictures points straight towards the original design of man before time was. Man was designed to have relationship with God, housing God.

Already the Grace message is clear!

... but there is more

The names of three of Jesse’s sons are mentioned as they appear before Samuel.

During the encounter with the first son, Eliab (my father is God-like), God tells Samuel not to be deceived and not to look upon his stature and outward appearance for God looks at the heart.

The second son called is Abinadab (my father is willing or noble) shows that he has knowledge of a willing Father, but not of an able Father. Abinadab also points to man’s own works of self-righteousness.

The third son called is Shammah (horror, waste, appalling) pointing toward man malicious ascribing of evil things to YHVH, God of love and goodness and kindness, having mercy and grace being patient and abundant in love.

None of these called, and also none of the other sons whose names are not mentioned, are the chosen ones.

When Samuel inquires about another, Jesse calls the last, the youngest, insignificant, shepherd with the name David (beloved).

…he was ruddy,

and withal of a beautiful countenance,

and goodly to look to.

And the LORD said, Arise,

anoint him:

for this is he. 1Sam 16:12

The shadow come of age

1 Samuel 16:12 is exactly the way that Father God looks at us following the cross and the perfect atonement sacrifice of His Beloved Son!

Glory to Abba!

Let’s get back to Jesus.

Jesus points to this Hebrew word, qâra' meaning to proclaim, to summon - least person first when He says in Mat 20:16: So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

In one word He immediately cancels the law concept of own works and long labour to obtain righteousness. He shows that the one who was called last, having done the least, if any work at all, earns the same wage.

Who was called?

In Matthew 22 Jesus shows just how many He called. Yet, in the end there is one man who attends the wedding feast but without the appropriate garment. This man is doomed to destruction through his own choice. 


He did not clothe (merely receive) himself with the robe of righteousness (Jesus. Thus renouncing Jesus. for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousnessIsaiah 61:10)

Amazingly called and chosen go together

There exists six instances whence the two words, called and chose, are used together.

God calls all ... He chooses all, but all have a choice in choosing Him!

The called and chosen wordplay in 1 Samuel sheds a lot of light on God’s redemption plan already executed through Jesus on the cross, but the Word completely explains itself (Himself) in the very last book of the Bible in terms of who exactly are the chosen and called ones. It fits ever so beautifully with words of Jesus saying that the very purpose of His manifestation here on earth was not to condemn anyone, but that all shall be saved.

In Revelation 17:14 it says ... These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful


You are called, beloved friend … you are chosen!
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