Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people,
come to my aid when you save them, that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise.
THE POWER OF CHOSENNESS
Do you remember what it felt like to be picked for a team when you were a kid? Or did you ever have a time when you weren’t picked…or maybe you were picked last? I remember one time, when my kids were young, I looked on proudly as my older son picked his younger brother to be on his team. It was a pretty cool moment for me! I knew that he had chosen his brother—not because he was the best player available, but because he was loved. As a result, of course, my younger son played even harder. He wanted his older brother to know he belonged on the team.
Do you ever wonder how God chooses people for His “team?”
Psalm 106 is one of several psalm-songs that recall and reflect on the history of God’s “team,” the people of Israel. But unlike the preceding Psalm 105, which recounts stories of God’s miraculous acts of deliverance and salvation, this song recalls the many painful moments of Israel’s failures, rebellion and sin. God’s ‘team” had acted with indifference—they “gave no thought” to God’s miracles and God’s kindness (vs. 7). Even when they did acknowledge what God had done by choosing them, they “soon forgot” (vs. 13). Their indifference and ingratitude led to rebellion against God’s leaders (vs. 16-18), to idol worship (vs. 19-20), to discontent (vs. 24-25), and to disobedience (vs. 34-39). And ultimately, it led them into exile and captivity (vs. 40-43).
And yet, despite all of that, God continued to choose Israel—not because they were the best players…and not because they were the strongest team, but simply because he loved them (Deuteronomy 7:7-8).
That’s why, in spite of all their flaws, the writer of Psalm 106 desperately wants to be part of God’s “team.” In verses 4-5 he pleads with God to remember him when God shows favor to them; to come to his aid, when he saves them; to allow him to share in the prosperity, joy and inheritance of God’s chosen ones. In short, the psalmist is saying “pick me for your team.” The players aren’t perfect. It’s a team filled with miscreants and malcontents, but it is a team that belongs to a God who is loving and compassionate, powerful and holy, merciful and good.
Today, we look at our churches (and that means every church) and we still find that we are an imperfect team. It’s not hard to identify the miscreants and malcontents among us. And for some of us that might make us think about looking for another team…or maybe we’re tempted to quit playing the game altogether! But the best reason for being part of this imperfect team is that we belong to a perfect God. He is a God who loves us in spite of who and what we are, but He is also a God who offers His beloved people a better way and a better life. How will we respond?
When Jesus was among us, his “team” included the same kinds of misfits, miscreants and malcontents it includes today. And yet, they were special because he loved them…he had chosen them. He told them (and he tells us still) that “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last” (John 15:16). One of those misfits on Jesus’ original team, Simon Peter, echoed those same thoughts decades later, as he wrote to the churches:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
If we belong to God’s team, it’s not because we chose to belong; and it’s not up to the rest of the players to choose who belongs; it’s because God chooses us. Being chosen for God’s team doesn’t mean that we’re the best and the brightest players either, but it does compel us and require us to give our very best back to Him in response.
If you aren’t sure of your standing on God’s team, take a moment right now to pray the prayer from Psalm 106:4-5: “Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them, that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise.”
You belong! Let your belonging produce Christ’s joy in you and let it produce Christ’s fruitfulness through you. He is the source and the goal of your life…he is the Living Water…always stay thirsty for him!