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“MANY ARE CALLED BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN” Thoughts from today’s Bible readings – Jan. 20th D.Caudery

 

We have a set of really thought challenging readings today.  First, in Genesis, we have the climax and end of Jacob’s life. But before he dies ” God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.’ ” [Gen. 35 v.10] According to the Hebrew Dictionary – Israel means ‘He will rule as God.’  As the grandson of Abraham, he inherited the promises made to him (Gen. 22 v.17,18).  This promise was that “in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”  And that offspring, of course was Jesus. Paul wrote that “God …. preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” [3 v.8]  This is an aspect of “the gospel” that many do not appreciate, but it is central to it.

Then David’s Psalm 37, inspired us. Its’ opening words stir our hearts to resist the godlessness in today’s world.  “Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!  For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.  Trust in the LORD, and do good …” But how few today have genuinely committed themselves to living with that aim?  So few! – David’s words in this Psalm brings our thoughts to the parable of Jesus at the start of Matthew ch. 22.   

It is a parable about a wedding feast – surely representing the joys when the words of the Lord’s prayer become a reality, If we pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” [Matt 6 v.10] and we live our lives with the expectation of the kingdom coming (how soon now?) and we will then take part in the “wedding feast” that is also described in Revelation 19 v.6-9. The parable describes how invitations are sent out, “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment.” [v.11]

Are we worthy to take part in this feast?  Jude writes of “the garment stained by the flesh” [1 v.23] – the world abounds with such garments today – if they have garments at all.  

In contrast Isaiah declares, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD … for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness … as a bride adorns herself …” [61 v.10]

The parable in Matthew ends in a most challenging way, “….there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” David’s Psalms are one of the main  sources for learning the basis for being among the “chosen” and having (how soon now?) the wondrous experience of the wedding feast.