“… and you chose life.” We as believers in the Messiah Yeshua have chosen life. But, throughout our lives we are faced with situations of different choices almost every day. God by His grace created us with freedom of choice, but in different situations we must ask ourselves these questions:
Do we choose to walk by faith, or by sight? Do we choose to act in the fear of God or in the fear of man? Do we choose to live in holiness or in submission to the ways of the world? Do we choose to walk in the light and the truth or hide things in the dark? In short, do we choose to worship God in spirit and truth or to act in our flesh? “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
In the Bible there are examples of God’s people who made right choices, and the job of these choices is to teach us to choose the right path, the way of God.
Abraham – chose to leave everything that was familiar to him: the environment, family, friends … He obeyed the call of God and went boldly to the unknown. “…And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Heb. 11:8). He trusted in God and believed in all His promises to future. “For he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (verse 10).
Do we choose today – to respond to God’s call as He guides us to a new and unfamiliar place?
Joseph – chose to forgive his brothers, when they met in Egypt, during the famine in the land of Canaan. He understood that God let events in his life happen, to train him to be a tool in His hands, for the sake of saving his family. In addition, Joseph did not want to make his brothers feel guilty about everything they had done to him. He did not want to upset them. “…Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life” (Gen. 45:4-5). “So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt” (verse 8). Joseph’s greatness was that he chose not to be angry with his brothers, and more than that, he chose to love them, because he understood the purpose of this trial he had gone through. They understood their sin towards him and regretted it.
Do we choose today – to forgive our brothers, pray and love them even when they hurt us? (As we have seen in the story of Joseph, God has a plan and purpose in every situation that happens to us today).
Moses – chose to leave the comforts in the palace in Egypt, as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, for the sake of God’s people. Moses knew that he belonged to the people of God and in doing so he joined them and preferred to suffer with them. “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” (Heb. 11:25-26).
Do we choose today – to give up the comforts that the world offers us and live according to the word of God, even though there is suffering in this life (2 Cor. 12:10).
Joshua – chose to serve God, even though, he knew that the people around him will choose to worship other gods. He warned them and became an example for them. “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served… or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).
Do we choose today – To be faithful to the Lord, even though we are in the minority in an environment of people who are not faithful to Him?
David – chose not to take revenge on Shaul, when he chased him and wanted to kill him out of jealousy. “Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed… know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it. Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you” (1 Sam. 24:10-12). David gave the judgment into the hands of God because he knew it was the role of God and not his.
Do we choose today – to hand over the judgment to the Lord and not to think thoughts of revenge on those who harm us? “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom. 12:19).
Elisha – chose to give up his routine life and joined Elijah to serve him and the people. “And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you…So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant (1 Kings 19:20-21). When Elisha sacrificed the cattle and cooked them in the oxen’s equipment, he actually severed his connection with his previous life, with his past. He went forward towards a new life, a spiritual life. Do we choose today – to be released from the past and look forward to our eternal goal in Messiah? “…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:13-14).
Esther – chose to risk her life, and revealed the truth, in order to save her people. “Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:15-16). Esther understood from Mordecai’s words that she had come to the kingdom at this critical time and agreed to come to the king and reveal the truth, even though she was not called to him.
Do we choose today – to risk ourselves, while we expose the truth? (For example: when we convict bro/sis and reveal the truth about them, we may risk severing their relationship with us).
Daniel – Chose not to listen to people but to God. He continued to pray to God, even when an order came out from the king to forbid prayers to a god other than the king (following jealousy, for having been given an important role) and the risk was to be thrown into the lions’ den. He chose to take the risk as long as he did not stop the work of God. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Dan. 6:10). Daniel gave glory to God, he was God-fearing and not man-fearing. Do we choose today – to act out of a desire to please God or people? To act out of fear of man or out of fear of God? (Gal. 1:10).
All these choices made by men of God (and there are more), are a testimony for us today.
But, the greatest testimony, is of Yeshua, who by choice stripped Himself of His glory in heaven, and took on the form of a slave and came to serve people on earth. We, the true believers, who have chosen Yeshua the Messiah, need to let Him be the master of our lives, to submit ourselves to Him and to follow Him to the end with zeal and with no compromises… “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:5-9).