The Good News - Home

Many Are Called, Few Are Chosen

by David A. DePra

Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD.
Neither be dismayed, O Israel. For lo, I will save thee from afar, and
thy seed from the land of their captivity. And Jacob shall return, and
shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I
am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee. Though I make a full
end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a
full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave
thee altogether unpunished.
For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound
is grievous. There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be
bound up. Thou hast no healing medicines. All thy lovers have
forgotten thee. They seek thee not. For I have wounded thee with
the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the
multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased.
Why criest thou for thine affliction? Thy sorrow is incurable for the
multitude of thine iniquity. Because thy sins were increased, I have
done these things unto thee.
Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured. And all
your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity. And
they that spoil you shall be a spoil. And they that prey upon you
shall I give for a prey. For I will restore health to you, and I will heal
you of your wounds, says the Lord, because they called you an
Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.
(Jer. 30:10-17)
     All through the Old and New Testament, we read about how
God has called us out of the world. Indeed, the very Greek word
for "church" means "called out ones." We are IN the world, but not
OF the world. We have been born again, new creations, of a new
     Christians are to voluntarily come out of the world, i.e., not be
part of that which is of sin and death. But here, in Jeremiah, we see
something entirely different being described. God is NOT here
describing one who has come out of the world. He is describing
one who has been EVICTED from the world -- indeed, evicted from
his life. And it says that God Himself has caused it.
     Now, we must get this difference. All Christians have to "come
out of the world." Everyday we are faced with choices to refuse
certain things of this world in favor of obedience to God. That is
good and Biblical.  But that is NOT what is being talked about here.
     This passage is describing someone whose life has been taken
out of their hands. Instead of choosing to come out of the world,
this is a person who is an outcast of the world. Instead of choosing
to move out, they are evicted. Instead of walking away from the
world in obedience to God, this is a person who is cut-off from his
life by God Himself. Thus, God is talking here NOT about a person
"coming out." He is talking about a person being CAST OUT.
     Note that what is happening here is more than just being evicted
from the evil world. No. This is a person who is being evicted from
even the "good" things. This is a person whose health, whose
"lovers," and whose very life, forsakes and evicts him: "They seek
you not."
     The Christian walk is often pictured -- and rightly so -- as a battle
to keep oneself clean from the world. It is a voluntary surrender of
even the good things to God. Jesus said we must "lose our lives
in Him" if we want to find them. But this passage is not describing
a Christian refusing life for the sake of Jesus, but of life refusing US.
It talks about us being evicted, refused, and rejected -- by even
the good and right things. And it says GOD has caused this.
     Note how clear this is. God says, "Your bruise is incurable, and
your wound is grievous. There is none to plead your cause that you
might be bound up. Thou hast no healing medicines. All your lovers
have forgotten thee. They seek you not." Then God adds, "They
called you an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh
     This is definitely not a picture of the average Christian coming
out of the world. It is a picture of someone being permanently
evicted out of their life. They gave no permission. They weren't
even asked for permission. Rather, and this is vital to see, God
says, "I have done these things unto thee."

God Has Done This

     God has done this. Not circumstances. Not luck. Not man. But
GOD . God says, "I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy,
with the chastisement of a cruel one." God did that. Why? He tells
us. "Because of the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins
were increased."
     Now, if we were just to leave it there, we might assume that we
were here dealing with a really bad sinner. Afterall, God wouldn't
do this to any of us "regular sinners," would He? Well, if we read
the entire passage, we find that this treatment by God is not simply
a matter of Him "punishing" Israel, or any person to whom this could
apply today. It is a matter of God setting them apart for the purpose
of doing a great work through them. God is, in effect, setting this
person free from everything that binds them. And He is not going
to allow THEIR will for themselves to get in the way of His purpose.
     If you read through the Bible, it seems that this passage applies
to many, if not all, of those whom God specially called and used.
He did not simply come to them and say, "Now you must come out
of the place you are." To be sure, there was always a voluntary
stage involved in those callings. But only to a point. There later
came a point at which God -- without their permission -- began to
move to EVICT them from their lives. They were never to return.
     God did this with Moses. When God called him to the burning
bush, Moses did not want to go to Pharoah. But God really didn't
give him a choice. Moses had heard from God. Also consider
Job. Did God ask him permission to do what He did to Job? No.
Job lost everything. There was something going on there which
Job could not know. And God allowed it for his ultimate good.
     Now, don't get the impression that God was imposing His will on
Moses, or that those whom God evicts from their life have NO
choice. They DO have a choice. But the choice isn't whether to
come out. No. God has evicted them out! Their choice is how they
will choose now that God has cast them out of their life into His
purposes. They can resist God and try to make a new life on their
own terms. Or they can surrender to God.
     Note that the choice isn't whether to return to my former life. No.
Even if I resist God I can never return. I can't because I know too
much. I have seen and heard. I am accountable and responsible.
I can't plead ignorance. I have been moved into a greater purpose
of God, with higher stakes. There is no way back to the status quo.
     There have, no doubt, been individuals whom God has evicted
from life who have resisted God. They could not return to their
former life. So they pitched their tent, not in the will of God, but in
their own will. Their last state becomes worse than the first, for
they are not ignorant. They KNOW.
     Imagine, for instance, if Paul the apostle had refused God's
hand on the road to Damascus. Would Paul have been able to
have merely returned to his life as a Pharisee? No. It was too late
for that. Paul had crossed a line and had no way back. God had
pushed him across that line. Had Paul resisted, God would have
let him. But Paul would have become a morally twisted person. He
had seen light and been evicted into the purposes of God. Life
could not be the same for Paul ever again.
     Peter TRIED to go back fishing after the resurrection. He tried
to re-enter his former life. But Jesus knew this was not rebellion or
resistance. It was a lack of understanding and a product of Peter
being disoriented. Peter found that despite his efforts, the door
was closed behind him on his former life. He had been evicted
from it by the Truth. He had been chosen of God.

Called and Chosen and Faithful

     We see this idea of being evicted from one's life all through
scripture. For instance, Jesus said, "You have not chosen Me, but
I have chosen you." (John 15:16) If that is really true, then what do
we have to do with it? Nothing. God chose US. But once we ARE
chosen, we must respond to God by surrendering.
     Thus, we see that we do not decide to be chosen. But we must
decide what to do with the fact that we ARE chosen.
     Now, Jesus said, "MANY are called, but FEW are chosen." (Mt
22:14) Here we see a smaller circle (the chosen), within a bigger
circle (the called.) MANY are "called" to Christ. But few -- OF
those that are "called" -- are "chosen." There are evidently a few
of those "called" who are "chosen" for a special purpose in Jesus
     There is, however, yet another group -- another even smaller
circle within the "chosen." We find it in Revelation. There John
says that "they that are with him (Jesus) are called, and chosen,
and --- FAITHFUL. There's the choice being worked out. . Not a
choice to be called. Not a choice to be chosen. But a choice to be
faithful -- once you are called or chosen.
     Thus, we have three groups: The called, the chosen, and the
faithful. God decides who is called, and who is chosen. But we
decide whether we are faithful.

Callings of God

     God never imposes His will on anyone. But He also does what
He pleases. This is not bad; it is good. For "what God pleases" is
always best. It is always for our good and His glory.
     When God evicts someone from their life, for His purposes, it is
not because that person is better than someone who is not chosen.
Hardly. If you read the passage from Jeremiah, you see this
clearly. The person is a sinner. But because they are chosen,
God must deal with them sternly and without showing any mercy to
their flesh, or to what they want in life. This is the price of being
chosen. You have to be molded into the shape which will fit the
purposes of God for YOU.
     If a person is chosen of God, then they are meant for that. This
means that they cannot operate fully to God's glory any other way.
Likewise, if someone is NOT chosen, then they are not meant for
that. They cannot operate fully to God's glory except in the
capacity God has for them. But none of this has anything to do with
a person's worth to God. None of it has to do with our personal
righteousness. No. The ground remains level at the foot of the
Cross. It simply has to do with the purposes and call of God.
Paul continually tried to tell those to whom he wrote that he was
nothing. He said, "
For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were
appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world,
and to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye
are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are
honourable, but we are despised. (I Cor. 4:9-10)
     But Paul also told his reader how they ought to regard him. He
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and
stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in
stewards, that a man be found faithful. (I Cor. 4:1-2)
     Paul, who was chosen of God for a special purpose, simply
regarded himself as a "steward" of Truth. He had been given
something of God and had to be faithful with it to God's glory. This
was not because Paul was great in the eyes of God. No. What
WAS great was the responsibility God put upon Paul. This cost
Paul everything personally, and evicted him from his personal life.
     Paul did not sit down one day and decide, "I think I'll be an
apostle." No. God chose him to be that. It was what Paul had to
be, if he was going to fulfill the purpose God had for him.
     Thus it is with all of us. We may be called or we may be chosen.
But we cannot become what God wants us to become unless we
surrender to God in whatever His purpose is for us, and operate
to His glory within that. If I am called, let me fulfill that calling to
God's glory. If I am chosen, let me be faithful in that. One is not
better than the other. The rewards are NOT greater for those
chosen. The responsibility and COST is greater -- to my personal
sense of righteousness and to my right to belong to myself. But
we are all ONE in Christ Jesus -- whether called or chosen.

The Redemptive Purposes of God

     God must mold those He chooses: "Thy bruise is incurable, and
your wound is grevious." In other words, there is nothing you can do
cure your plight. "There is none to plead thy cause, that you may
be bound up. Thou hast no healing medicines." No solutions. No
way to get back into your life, or to keep it from being taken in a
direction you may have otherwise avoided. "All your lovers have
forgotten thee. They seek you not." In effect, you are alone with
God.  And God says, "I have done this. It is for your good."
     Here we see a wonderful picture of God doing a mighty
redemptive work despite the protests of our flesh, and despite our
inability to understand. He does it anyways because He loves us.
     But there is more. Notice the end of the matter. God says, "They
called you an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh
after." BECAUSE OF THAT, God says, "I will restore health to you."
BECAUSE OF THAT, God says, "
Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have
mercy on his dwelling places; and the city shall be builded upon
her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.
after the manner thereof. (Jer. 30:18)
     When we finally come to the place where we are completely
spiritually bankrupt, and reduced down to nothing, then God will
rebuild us. He can dare to rebuild us then, because there is no
longer a danger that we will use the things of God for ourselves.
     Note that.  A "steward" of the Truth does not take theTruth and
use it as a tool to exalt himself. No. And God sees to it that this
is unlikely by first reducing those whom He chooses to a rubble.
Then He can built upon that rubble to HIS glory with HIS temple.
When God rebuilds the city upon her own heap, it means He
takes the rubble and ruin of the old, and uses it as the foundation
for the NEW. That is redemption and resurrection. It is the way
God works. It leaves us with no glory for ourselves. All the glory
goes to Him.
     Many are called, but few are chosen. And even fewer are faithful.
The "called" don't do the calling. They ARE called. The "chosen"
don't do the choosing. They ARE chosen. But the faithful ARE
faithful because they have surrendered either to God's call or to
God's choosing.
     "I have done this to you," saith the Lord. May we allow God to do
in our lives what He wants to do. If we do, we'll spend eternity being
thankful that we did. *

The Good News - Home

Hit Counter