With elections coming up we are more aware than ever of the choices before us. For an interesting perspective, take a moment and see how the Bible uses the word choose.”
It probably won’t surprise you that in the Old Testament, the word “choose” appears most often to tell about God’s choices.
Twenty-one of 58 Old Testament verses with the word “choose” speak of the place God chooses to put His Name, or the place He chooses for the people of Israel to make sacrifices to Him. This is the most common context for the word “choose” in the Old Testament—which tells us that God is “choosy” about His holiness, His Name and the place and manner in which His people may approach Him.
We also see a number of “choose” verses referring to God choosing Abraham or Israel. When we look up the past tense “chose” we find even more verses talking about God’s promises to Abraham, Moses, David, etc. The key to appreciating this vein of God’s “choosing” is in Deuteronomy 7:
The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people; for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
It is good to remember that God’s choices are in keeping with His promises.
Finally, we see a small but significant handful of verses in the Old Testament where the word “choose” is given as an instruction. God gave human beings the ability and the privilege of making many choices. He tells us to:
- Choose good leaders: “Choose wise, understanding, and knowledgeable men from among your tribes, and I will make them heads over you” (Deuteronomy 1:13).
- Choose life, via obedience to God’s Word: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…(Deuteronomy 30:19)
- Choose to serve the Lord: “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
- Choose friends carefully: “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26).
From the Old Testament use of the word “choose” we see that God has established His choice of where He places His Name, and how people can worship Him. We also see that His choices are in keeping with His promises. And we see that we are responsible to make good choices with regard to our leaders, our obedience and service to God, and our friends.
Turning to the New Testament, we find another comforting reminder of God’s choices:
“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, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”
So, where God has given us choices to make, we ought to take those decisions seriously. At the same time, we can rejoice in the choices that God has made, and be thankful that He has chosen us!
Newsletter Editor, Missionary
Ruth Rosen, daughter of Jews for Jesus founder Moishe Rosen, is a staff writer and editor with Jews for Jesus. Her parents raised her with a sense of Jewishness as well as "Jesusness." Ruth has a degree in biblical studies from Biola College in Southern California and has been part of our full-time staff since 1979. She's toured with Jewish gospel drama teams and participated in many outreaches. She writes and edits quite a few of our evangelistic resources, including many broadside tracts. One of her favorites is, "Who Needs Politics." Ruth also helps other Jewish believers in Jesus tell their stories. That includes her father, whose biography she authored in what she says was "one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life." For details, or to order your copy of Called to Controversy the Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus, click here. Or click here for a video desription of the biography. For the inside story and "extras" about the book, check out our Called to Controversy Facebook page. Ruth also writes shorter "faith journey" stories in books like Jewish Doctors Meet the Great Physician as well as in booklets like From Generation to Generation: A Jewish Family Finds Their Way Home, which you can download for free here. She edits the Jews for Jesus Newsletter and RealTime for Christians who want to pray for our ministry and our missionaries. In her spare time, Ruth enjoys writing fiction and playing with her dog, Annie, whom she "rescued" from a shelter. Ruth says, "Some people say that rescue dogs have issues, and that is probably true. If dogs could talk, they'd probably say that people have issues, and that is probably even more true. I'm glad that God is in the business of rescuing people, (and dogs) despite—or maybe because of—all our issues." You can follow Ruth Rosen on facebook or as RuthARosen on twitter.