“Chosen Into Heritage” ( Psalm 33: 12, WYC ) by Carley Evans


What is the problem with acknowledging that God chooses – that God has the final say, so to speak? Why does this truth bring us up short, if it does? We know from scripture that God chooses Abram from whom He creates an entire people – people He identifies as His own and who are identified by Paul as the original olive tree while the remainder of God’s people are grafted into this original vine.  We know God chooses Moses over Pharaoh, Joseph over his brothers, Jacob over Esau. He chooses Mary over all other women to be the mother of His Son, Jesus. We acknowledge these choices of people, and do not balk.

“Blessed is the folk, whose Lord is his God; the people which he chose into heritage to himself.”

We recognize that ultimately God’s blessing is what sets these people and us apart from others. To think it is anything else – especially to think it is anything we do or say that is somehow better than what others say and do – is an erroneous belief. God chooses us “into heritage to Himself.”

And all the people say, “Amen.”

 

“His To Use” ( Job 12: 16, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“In God’s hand are the souls of all that live, the spirits of all human kind. Wisdom and might are His, with Him are firmness and understanding. If He pulls down, there is no rebuilding; if He imprisons, there is no release. If He holds up the waters, there is drought; if He lets them go, they turn the land upside down. Strength and success belong to Him, deceived and deceiver are His to use.” (Job 12:10-16, NEB)

In the midst of his suffering, Job says it best — all belong to God. All are His to use in whatever fashion He deems perfect.

“He leads people astray and destroys them, He lays them low, and there they lie.” (Job 12:23) Look at Pharaoh if there is any doubt.

“What shall we say to that? Is God to be charged with injustice? By no means. For He says to Moses, ‘Where I show mercy, I will show mercy, and where I pity, I will pity.’ Thus it does not depend on man’s will or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘I have raised you up for this very purpose, to exhibit My power in My dealings with you, and to spread My fame over all the world.’ Thus He not only shows mercy as He chooses, but also makes men stubborn as He chooses. You will say, ‘Then why does God blame a man? For who can resist His will?’ Who are you, sir, to answer God back? Can the pot speak to the potter and say, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Surely the potter can do what he likes with the clay.” (Romans 9:14-21)

“His Own Chosen Purpose” ( Philippians 2: 13, Daniel 5: 23; NEB ) by Carley Evans


“You have not given glory to God, in whose charge is your very breath and in whose hands are all your ways.”

 

“You must work out your own salvation in fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, inspiring both the will and the deed, for His own chosen purpose.”

 

Paul assures “it is impossible that the Word of God should prove false.” (Romans 9: 6) God does not lie; He is not the author of evil. Yet, all our ways are in His hands, says Daniel. And, Paul writes that “it is God who works in you…for His own chosen purpose.” Paul explains God’s sovereignty in his letter to the Romans. He writes of Rebekah’s children, Jacob and Esau. Despite having the same father, “in order that God’s selective purpose might stand, based not upon men’s deeds but upon the call of God, [Rebekah] was told, even before they were born, when they had as yet done nothing, good or ill, ‘The elder shall be servant to the younger’; and that accords with the text of Scripture, ‘Jacob I loved and Esau I hated.’ ” (Romans 9: 11-13)

 

“Thus He not only shows mercy as He chooses, but also makes men stubborn as He chooses.” (Romans 9: 18) Paul refers us to Pharaoh — how God hardens this man’s heart repeatedly so that he does not let the Israelites leave Egypt.

 

Paul acknowledges that this does not, on the surface, appear fair. But he answers the objection: “But what if God, desiring to exhibit His retribution at work and to make His power known, tolerates very patiently those vessels which are objects of retribution due for destruction, and does so in order to make known the full wealth of His splendour upon vessels which are objects of mercy, and which from the first are prepared for this splendour?” (Romans 9:22-23)

 

“God’s choice stands.. for the gracious gifts of God and His calling are irrevocable.” (Romans 11: 28, 29)

“Falling Into The Hands Of God” ( Hebrews 10: 30 – 31, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“For we know who it is that says, ‘Justice is mine: I repay’; and again, ‘The Lord judges His people.’ It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

The author of Hebrews calls us to enter God’s rest, writing, “See that you do not refuse the voice that speaks. Those who refuse to hear the oracle speaking on earth find no escape; still less do we escape if we refuse to hear the One who speaks from heaven.” (Hebrews 12: 25 – 26)

Open your ears; listen. Soften your heart; believe. Steel your nerves; walk aright. “Think of Him (Jesus) who submits to such opposition from sinners; that helps you not to lose heart and grow faint. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Hebrews 12: 3 – 5)

Admit this to yourself — you struggle against sin. We all struggle at times to cease from our work so that we may enter God’s rest, His Sabbath rest. Jesus gives us help both as an example and via the Holy Spirit who lives within us.

No one should think that God’s discipline is not “terrible.” Via discipline, He molds us like clay into what He desires; after all, He is our Creator. He is God; who are we to question Him? Paul rhetorically asks: “Is God to be charged with injustice? By no means. For He says to Moses, ‘Where I show mercy, I show mercy, and where I pity, I pity.’ Thus it does not depend on man’s will or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘I raise you up for this very purpose, to exhibit My power in My dealings with you, and to spread My fame all over the world.’ Thus He not only shows mercy as He chooses, but also makes men stubborn as He chooses.” (Romans 9: 14 – 18)

“You say, ‘Then why does God blame a man? For who can resist His will?’ Who are you, sir, to answer God back? Can the pot speak to the potter and say, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Surely the potter can do what he likes with the clay.” (Romans 9: 19 – 21)

Therefore, be grateful that God chooses you. Do not be arrogant, but be humble — knowing that it is truly by God’s grace that you stand in His company, that you find His Sabbath rest.

“God Becomes Salvation” (Exodus 15: 2, HCSB) by Carley Evans


Moses asks, “Lord, who is like You among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, revered with praises, performing wonders?” (Exodus 15: 11)

The wonders to which Moses and the children of Israel refer include the parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharaoh’s charioteers and armies, the plagues designed both to convince Pharaoh to let God’s people go and to harden his heart, the pillar of cloud and the Angel of God moving between the children of Israel and the forces of Egypt.

Moses sings, “The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation. This is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.”

Moses recalls his own rescue from death at birth. The midwives tell the king of Egypt who desires to curb the growth of Israel by killing all newborn sons that “Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before a midwife can get to them.” (Exodus 1: 19) Therefore, Moses’ mother has time to hide her son for three months before placing him in a papyrus basket and setting him among the reeds along the banks of the Nile. The basket is found by Pharaoh’s daughter, and Moses as a result grows up in the household of his enemy after being nursed by his own mother.

Moses praises God: “You lead the people You redeem with Your faithful love; You guide them to Your holy dwelling with Your strength.” (Exodus 15: 13)

“Why Does He Still Find Fault?” (2 Timothy 1: 7, ESV) by Carley Evans


The Spirit you have within is “not of fear but of power and love and self-control,” writes Paul to his spiritual son, Timothy.

Paul tells Timothy not to “be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord.” (2 Timothy 1: 8) Paul reminds Timothy that God “saves us and calls us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gives us in Christ Jesus before the ages begin.” (2 Timothy 1: 9)

God’s calling is from before time — long in advance of any one thing we do or do not do. God “says to Moses, ‘I have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ ” (Romans 9: 15) God “says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I raise you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My Name is proclaimed in all the earth.’ So then He has mercy on whomever He wills, and He hardens whomever He wills.” (Romans 9: 17 – 18)

God chooses Jacob to love, and Esau to hate. (Romans 9: 13) And this, “though they are not yet born and have done nothing either good or bad — in order that God’s purpose of election may continue, not because of works but because of Him who calls.” (Romans 9: 11)

Our eternal life is due to “Him who calls.” He calls us from darkness, leads us into His Light, gives us His Holy Spirit and walks us to His mountain. Our salvation has nothing to do with our works, which are — at the very best — side-effects of the Holy Spirit within us.

“My Heart Is Awake” (Galatians 5: 16, ESV) by Carley Evans


The answer is simple. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

“By faith Moses, when he is grown up, refuses to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considers the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he is looking to the reward.” (Hebrews 11: 24 – 26)

“For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other.” (Galatians 5: 17)

“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5: 24)

Yet, “I sleep, but my heart is awake. A sound! My beloved is knocking, ‘Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is wet with dew, my locks with the drops of the night.’ I put off my garment; how can I put it on? I have bathed my feet; how can I soil them? My beloved puts his hand to the latch, and my heart is thrilled within me. I arise to open to my beloved, and my hands drip with liquid myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the handles of the bolt.” (Song of Solomon 5: 2 – 5)