The Man of God’s Choice, Psalm 65. 4
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
"Blessed is the man whom thou choosest". The Psalmist expressed his gladness that relationship with His Lord is not a matter of chance but of choice. This fact to him is the cause of true happiness. He had pictured Zion as the place of God's praise, the praise that is His just due. He shows in verse 2 that a God who is worthy of praise is also One who is available to prayer and who pardons transgressions, bringing forgiveness to those who have an overwhelming sense of sin, v. 3, How wonderful the atmosphere the writer creates within the compass of these short verses. Truly he loved Zion, the place where God was found. It is not surprising, therefore, that against this background he exclaims upon the happiness of the man whom such a God would choose to approach Him, and allow to dwell in His presence.
There is perhaps no thought more humbling to the Christian than that which associates him with the sovereign choice of God. The Lord Jesus could say to His disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you", John 15. 16. As we consider the characters of those He chose, there are many questions we could ask as to why they were chosen. But the onus of the selection rested with the Saviour. So it is with all of us. No adequate explanation can be given for our election, Deuteronomy 7. 6-8 tells the story of God's attitude to Israel. Not because the nation was first or best or greatest among the nations did God choose them. The "why" of this can never be answered. Because the Lord loved, He chose - this is the reason. And so it will always be with those who are the Lord's. Objects of His love and favour, they are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father", 1 Pet. 1. 2.
The sense of blessedness in the knowledge of God's choice is deepened when we realize that we are "chosen in him (Christ) before the foundation of the world", Eph. 1. 4. Long before time began the choice was made. Sometimes as we view the origins of our salvation we feel that our decision to accept Christ was everything, the vital factor that set the activity of God in motion. We entered the gateway marked "whosoever believeth", John 3. 16, and so we made our choice. But no sooner were we within the gate than we found on the inside these tremendous words "chosen in him (Christ) before the foundation of the world". What a remarkable position to be in. How the grace of God is magnified in the work of salvation. The vital stepping stones that lead to glory are marked out in Romans 8. 29-30, "whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate . . . them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified".
The truth of divine election is essentially and only a truth for believers. Error creeps in when we try to introduce into this realm of thought the idea of an action of choice by God which destines men for destruction. We are sure that God is the One who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, 1 Tim. 2. 4. But there are many who would rather make the wretched choice which leads to final distance from God. It is good to know that this distance need not be. The work of the cross makes the salvation of all possible. And those who choose Christ, soon realize the scope of the blessings which become theirs in Him. They are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ, Eph. 1.3. The weight of New Testament teaching in regard to election is directed towards the blessings which become ours because we are chosen. It has to do with rank, with possessions, and with ultimate blessing.
A growing sense of happiness comes as we realize the purpose for God's choice. The man whom He chooses is the man who is brought near to dwell in the courts of God. It is the longing of God as Father to enjoy the companionship of His children. It is so good to notice that after we have experienced the electing grace of our God, the way is clear to occupy our place in His presence. Romans 5. 1-2 tells us that having been justified by faith, and having peace with God, "we have access ... into this grace wherein we stand". Ephesians 1. 3-6, which gives us the insight into God's action in choosing His own in Christ before the foundation of the world, goes on to say that these are "accepted in the beloved", v. 6. Such is the purpose of the God who chooses. In practical experience there should be no distance between God the Father and those who are elect according to His foreknowledge. It is His purpose that we should draw near to Him and be satisfied with the bounty of His own presence. This is the privilege of those who are brought near.
"Blessed (happy) is the man whom thou (the Lord) choosest" - thus meditates the Psalmist. His sense of well-being springs from appreciation of the high privilege that was his. Surely those of us in our day who know the Lord can find a similar sense of joy and gladness. Only when we shall finally meet the Lord and experience the unbroken enjoyment of His presence, shall we realize to the full all that this privilege, conferred upon us by grace, truly means.