Synopsis of A Chosen People
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Isaiah 43:20 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because i give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have i formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. “give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have i formed for myself, they shall shew forth my praise.”
A major university experienced an amazing turnaround in its football program a few years ago. The next spring, at the opening of spring training, the coach gathered his players together for a team meeting As the coach called players forward and handed them their awards, they were cheered on by their teammates. Then one of the assistant coaches gave the head coach a placard representing the national coach-of-the-year award he had won for the team’s play. He accepted it proudly. Then, as the applause subsided, the coach walked to a trash can which was marked with the year of their outstanding season, took an admiring glance at his placard, then dumped it into the trash can. In the silence that followed, one by one, the team’s stars dumped their awards on top of the coach’s. The message was clear: “What you did last year was terrific. But look at the calendar: it’s not last year anymore.”
Good advice. The team had experienced a great year, but they needed to put it behind them and focus on the year ahead.
In our Old Testament lesson Israel has experienced many bad years. Many of their best people are in exile in Babylon. It is not a happy time. But a prophet arises, a man named Isaiah. And he brings them a message of hope, and the message was something like this: this has been a difficult time, but look at the calendar. It’s not the past anymore. God is alive and at work in human history. In order to encourage them even more, Isaiah has them look even further back in their history–to the Exodus, when God led the people out of slavery in Egypt. God’s hand was upon Israel. Israel was a chosen people.
You may be familiar with Tevye in the play, “Fiddler on the Roof.” Tevye is a pious Russian Jewish peasant who loves to stare up into the sky and argue with god. In one particularly dark moment, when everything seems to be going wrong in his little Jewish community, Tevye looks toward the sky and says to God: “It’s true we are the chosen people. But once in a while can’t you choose someone else?” There were surely many times in history when the Jewish people prayed, “Can’t you choose someone else?” How about you? Have you ever considered yourself chosen by God?
God chose Israel for a purpose–to declare God’s praise. That is Isaiah’s testimony. Israel was to declare God’s praise. Israel wasn’t chosen because god loved Israel more than the other peoples of the world. Israel was chosen for a purpose–to declare God’s praise to all nations.
This is why you and I were chosen as well. If God has chosen us, it is for a reason. It is because God wants us to declare God’s praise before our friends and neighbors and coworkers.
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