Wednesday, November 3, 2010

God's Sovereign Election

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!"
- Psalm 33:12

The Lord God has indeed chosen us in Christ and has purposed our good and that He will not be frustrated in fulfilling that purpose. That is very clear in verse 12 as the psalmist shifts his thought from God’s active providence to God’s sovereign election.

Verse 12 reads, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” John Calvin captures the connection between God’s providence with His electing love that is evident in this passage when he said, “The prophet, therefore, in proclaiming that they are blessed whom God receives into his protection, reminds us that the counsel which he had just mentioned is not a secret which remains always hidden in God, but is displayed in the existence and protection of the Church, and may there be beheld.”

The providence of God is clearly shown in the life and ministry of God’s people today, even in these trying moments of our history. The psalmist here highlights Israel’s unique status by using the word blessed. Israel is called “blessed” because among the nations of the earth God the Creator and Ruler of the universe chose her and made her His treasured possession. This privileged position of Israel is solely based upon God’s loving kindness and in keeping with His covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

God made a promise to Abraham that He will bless him and his descendants with great posterity and heritage in order that through him all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Calling to mind such privilege must evoke the people of God to praise and gratitude. And that’s what the psalmist is doing here in verse 12. He declares the blessedness of Israel as the nation whose God is the LORD, who out of His sheer grace, made Israel His own.

You and I need to understand that when Christ put His covenant seal in our baptism, He owns us. And we need to believe with all our heart and mind that we also are true descendants of Abraham by faith and recipients of those blessed promises of God (Galatians 3:26-29).

Just as God has His eye on Israel who hope and wait in Him in times of fear and danger, so God has His eye on us also, the church of Jesus Christ, who hope and wait patiently for His help and deliverance from our present anxiety and to lead us to a glorious future.

And that’s what really makes this psalm so appropriate to our situation because even though we do not know who wrote this psalm and the particular circumstance that prompted its writing, we can identify with the psalmist’s expressed dependence on God in times of need as he affirms in verse 20 that the Lord is “our help and our shield.”

Whatever was the situation behind Psalm 33, the author understands the truth that the Lord is the only One who can meet his needs. So he enjoins his fellow believers to praise God probably even in the face of death or the threat of famine (v. 19).

Oh how fitting it is that we should turn to this psalm in times of uncertainty. For the psalmist ends this psalm with confident trust in God. He concludes, “In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You” (vv.21-22).

So my dear brothers and sisters, would you, with confidence, praise the Lord for His faithful love to you? God delights in calling you His inheritance, chosen and called to be saints in Christ Jesus. God's sovereign election is clearly conveyed in verse 12.

That is what the psalmist calls a true state of ‘blessedness,’ to be called by God His own children, His treasured possession. It is not in your prominent status in society nor in the abundance of your material possession that you are blessed. It is not even in beautiful and secured houses or in the stability and security of your jobs and income. But your blessedness comes from the unchangeable fact that you and I belong to God by faith in Christ Jesus.

In His providence, the Lord will ultimately foil the plans of the wicked but He will bring to completion what He has purposed for us, that is, our redemption and eternal happiness with Him. And for that we rejoice!

Whatever kind of wickedness men have willed in their heart it will not prosper. Only God's purpose will succeed. God can use even the most wicked program of an individual or nation in order to accomplish His electing purpose and to advance His kingdom agenda. God alone can do this because He is the sovereign Creator and Ruler of all the earth. He rules the world and supervises the course of history for the sake of His elect.

While we do not know why the economy is getting worse and some businesses are going bankrupt, we know that these are in the hands of God. So while some of you may have been alarmed and distressed by the turn of events in our world, you should not lose sight of the fact that God continues to reign and rule over the nation and over the world. So you listen to God and to His Word for wisdom and direction. You turn to Him for comfort and assurance.

Seek refuge in His sovereign grace and mercy, for even in the most difficult time of our country’s history you and I will find perfect peace and rest knowing that God's purpose for us, as a body of Christ, will stand. If you serve the Lord faithfully and hope in Him only, no matter what the situation is, His promise remains in you which says, “Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12).

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