ghurtaH ghaH the Hatlh 'Iv joH'a' ghaH joH'a', the ghotpu 'Iv ghaH ghajtaH wIvpu' vaD Daj ghaj inheritance.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom he has chosen for his own inheritance. Psalm 33:12(Click for podcast)
Do you remember playing a game - say baseball or soccer - and “choosing up sides?” Waiting for the team leaders to pick the members of their team. And do you remember what it’s like to be picked, chosen to be on the team you really, REALLY, wanted to be on? Then you have a window to the impact of this verse from Psalm 33.
The people God chooses - the “nation” …. “he has chosen for his own....” are HAPPY - ashri, the word usually translated as “blessed” - happy in the way you or I might remember at being chosen for that team long ago. Happy because we’ve been chosen to be part of a team, part of something greater than our self. And this is the kind of happiness, of blessing God’s people know.
The word for chosen here is בָּחַר bachar and it occurs over 150 times in the Bible. From a root meaning to try, by implication, to select, that is choose, it is translated with terms like: acceptable, appoint, choose (choice), excellent, join, be rather, require. The word is used for God’s choices as well as human one (and not just good human choices).
And the Word does present humans as having a choice. From Moses’ command “choose life, that you may live,” or Joshua calls out “choose you this day whom you will serve,” to the Gospel declaration “But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God's children, to those who believe in his name,” Scripture makes clear that our walk through life involves choice - decisions every day on which path we will follow.
How do we balance God’s choice and ours? Do we need to focus on one and deny the other?
I think the Klingon answer (and my own) would be ghobe’ - no,. This is the richness of Scripture - that a paradox (God chooses/ Humans choose) is needed to describe how we move in relation to God. Some of the tension comes from our time-bound nature. Far better is to start with the principle that God chooses to love, to open his Kingdom to all.
Certainly he acts - to choose - individuals and nations to carry out his will, but he chooses this to extend his love to ALL people.
vaD joH'a' vaj loved the qo', vetlh ghaH nobta' Daj wa' je neH puqloD, vetlh 'Iv HartaH Daq ghaH should ghobe' chIlqu', 'ach ghaj eternal yIn.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.John 3:16
What a perfect way to balance God’s choice (He chose to love, he chose to give his Son), and ours, (choosing to accept his love, his grace). He chose to love - the whole cosmos - and we can be happy, happy to be blessed to be wIvpu’, chosen by him.