Ephesians 2:1-4 states: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loves us…”. God, who is rich in mercy and loves us, and made us, who were dead in trespasses and sins, alive. Was God blind or did He choose the wrong people? No, when God loves someone, it does not mean that person is already wonderful, obedient, and perfect. Can you boast of any outstanding virtue for which God could choose you? None of us can say, “I am so excellent at this – that’s why God chose me.”
God chose Jacob, but not because Jacob was a much better person than Esau. Jacob may have been a little smarter because he tricked Esau into selling him his birthright. Jacob was very sophisticated, as were many of us. We do not know why the Lord chose us, but, praise the Lord, He did! His choice is irrevocable. His choice is never wrong because He sees not only what our condition is now, but also what it will be in 80 years and even after the Millennial Kingdom. In His wisdom He already sees the transformation of our person. We may wonder if God has made the right choice with us. But He certainly did, because God is not like us, who even change their minds within 5 minutes. Praise the Lord, He has made Jacob, the “sly one,” a prince of God! He chose us fallen human beings to save us to the uttermost and make us kings and priests for Himself. This is certainly not an easy task. But nothing is too hard or too difficult for God.
That God has chosen us shows that He loves us and can transform us! The sooner this is started and the greater our willingness to cooperate, the better. Philippians 2:12-13: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, nut now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and do for His good pleasure.” We may think that we are the ones who work, but it is God who works because He loves us. He wants to bring us to perfection. God wants a people who are a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. For many Christian works, we do not need to be perfect; but the priesthood needs special training because it has a special task to fulfill.
Unfortunately, many of us are unwilling to cooperate with God. We are just like the nation of Israel, a stiff-necked people. When you have a stiff neck, you can’t turn. The Lord may say, “I am behind you. I’m talking to you!” But we cannot turn our heads, that is, we cannot repent. When God spoke to John in the book of Revelation, John immediately turned around. But with a stiff neck we cannot turn because we are hardened in our heart. No wonder it is written in Hebrews, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 3:7-8, 15; 4:7). Once our heart begins to harden, it does not fail to harden further, and in the end we cannot turn back. But praise the Lord, we are like Jacob and He wants to change us to become a holy and royal priesthood. This is a wonderful goal. Therefore, at the end in the book of Malachi, God spoke not only generally to the people, but especially to the priesthood.
God’s people became deaf to His love. When He said to His people, “I have loved you,” they reacted so insensitively to His love that they asked Him, “In what have You loved us?” (Mal. 1:2). They did not feel or recognize His love – they must have been very hardened. May the Lord be merciful to us today, that we listen to His speaking!