“Not You” these two words would slash and dice my self-image over and over as a child as an adult as a wife as a mother as a friend. Come to think about it, there isn’t a situation that I can think of that these two words weren’t said to me.
Once, I was invited to a birthday party so that a girl, who repeatedly bullied me in elementary school, could beat me up. She broke my yellow watch. I ran all the way home down the dusty dirt road humiliated and ashamed, clutching that broken watch. I can still see Dawn’s sad eyes pitying me, unable to stop the fight.
We don’t want you!
Chosen is not a word that I applied to myself. I was the kid in Sunday School with two or three stars on the attendance sheet, and then a long span of empty spaces. Then two or three stars would appear followed by a long empty space. I would hear the gospel presented, and I wanted desperately for this forgiveness and love for myself. I never felt like I was worthy enough for something so wonderful. Why would God choose me? Then I read II Peter 3:9
Anyone, everyone? I was pretty sure those two words included me. I thought I caught God by the toe. If anyone or everyone, included me, then God’s amazing love was for me too. This was my first step on the road to understanding who God is. For me, God turned a spot light on. I stepped into that little circle of faith, my first steps in understanding the difference between value and worth. Over the years, He has slowly increased that circle of faith.
I stumbled on to I Peter 2:9-10.
“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.”
The footnotes in my study Bible in I Peter led me to the book of Hosea. Hosea was a prophet. God asked him to marry a promiscuous wife, Gomer. After marrying her, he would latter have to buy her back out of prostitution for 15 shekels of silver and five bushels of barley. God uses Hosea and Gomer as an example of his plan to lead us out of our sin into His abundant life.
Gomer gives birth to three children, and I feel sorry for all of them. Their names were Jezreel, Lo-Ruhamah (Not Loved), and Lo-Ammi (Not My People). Can you imagine how the book of Hosea brought healing to me? Not Loved, Not my people, I felt like this was my identity.
Jezreel’s name foreshadowed the destruction of Israel for the slaughter of God’s prophets by the hands of Jezebel in Jezreel. I hope your name isn’t this bad.
“Hi! My name is Jezreel.”
“Isn’t that where Jezebel slaughtered all the prophets? I heard it was a blood bath.”
“Yes. Yes, it is.”
The names that challenged my little circle of faith was Lo-Ruhamah, Not Loved and Lo-Ammi, Not my people. The Lord’s declaration through the cross to you and I is “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy.” Although, I identified with promiscuous Gomer, God chose me to be His, not because I was worthy, but because He loves and values His creation. I promiscuously sought love, affirmation, purpose, worth, identity… you name it. I tried to find it anywhere I could. I was an affirmation addict. I was Lo-Ammi! Not His! God transferred me from Lo-Ammi to royal priesthood. He never intended me to sit in that little spot light of faith, clutching my broken yellow watch. He wants me to stand in the word “Chosen”. I didn’t have God by the toe; He had me in the palm of His hand.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through the blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. Ephesians 1: 3-8
What scandalous grace God has lavished on us? Once we were not His people and not loved, but now we are Chosen. I think I should end every post with these words until this is a reality in all of our lives.