Upon first glance, this verse might give off the impression that God picks favorites. A casual reader might glance at it and think, “Hm, must be nice to be the one selected. I’m not too sure I am on the Lord’s list of those He’s chosen to bring near.” Have you ever suspected that God secretly does have favorites? Does it seem to you like He has made it easier for certain individuals to sense His presence and walk intimately with Him?
Mercifully, He sets our minds to rest through His Word. There are several verses in the New Testament that assure us that God does not show favoritism*. He beckons “whomsoever will” to come and drink of His Spirit (Rev. 22:17, KJV). By this choice of words, He means that anyone who wants to draw near is invited to delight in rich, deep, personal communion with Him.
And yet, our verse for today indicates that some are chosen and some are not. How then does one qualify to be picked to dwell close to Him? How does He choose the ones He will bring near to Himself? One of Jesus’ thought-provoking parables sheds light on this question.
We find it in Matthew 22. In short, He tells us a story of a king who invites an important group of people to His banquet, but those invited are “not willing to come” (v. 3). They are too busy. They are too caught up in their own myopic pursuits to bother with what is truly precious. Jesus concludes His detailed metaphor with the gripping statement, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (v. 14).
Do you see the connection there, between being willing to come, and being chosen? I can still hear my youth pastor, Scotty Gurule, earnestly exhorting us, “You’ve got to choose the choosing!” This is how you get chosen to be brought near. You choose to be chosen. You choose to be willing to come. You choose not to let the busy hustle and bustle of life drown out His invitation!
I was busy today. The rush of my morning activities began before I was able to have my quiet time with Him. By the time the afternoon was halfway over, I was feeling flustered. Holy Spirit enticed me to come away. He allured me with a worship song, and I sank into His love. Before I knew it, more than an hour had passed, soaking in His beautiful closeness. I then looked up into Jesus’ eyes and asked Him hungrily, “Teach me to stay in Your presence always!”
That’s when I heard Him respond to me with this achingly lovely Scripture: “Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts!” My heart leapt up in joy because I knew what He was communicating. He was letting me know that He has chosen me, to bring me near! He has picked me to dwell in His presence! His answer to my prayer is “Yes.” He will ever draw me unto Himself!
I don’t have words to tell you how inexpressibly glad I am that I heeded His voice calling to me today….
Do you hear His invitation too?
“The honor of your presence is requested at the banqueting table of King Jesus. Will you come?”
*Acts 10:34, Rom. 2:11, Eph. 6:9, and Col. 3:25
How much busyness is too much? How do we build safeguards into our lives to ensure enough breathing space to where we can respond to His alluring?