The wanted unwanted


2 Samuel 19:14 So he won over all the men of Judah, and they sent word to the king: “Come back, you and all your servants.”

There’s something special about being chosen. Young, I was scrawny and awkward and rarely chosen for anything. The anxiety of standing among my peers being picked for a backyard football match and then it turning into sadness as the crowd dwindled to me and some other kid (the two remaining “disappointments”) took its toll on me. It was kind of a cyclic problem. Not only did no one expect much out of me in the game, but I didn’t care much to see the captain glorified in a win after wishing I wasn’t a part of his team. Oh, sure. He picked me. He had to. There was no one else left.  But he didn’t choose me.

There’s a difference between being chosen and simply being picked as the end result of a mathematical must.

Too many times people enter into a religious commitment as part of some formula of faith, mere words regurgitated after swallowing the pulpiteer’s instruction. There might even be real conviction and commitment backing it and that “Christian walk” that follows for some time. But if the repentant sinner makes his decision based only on the truth that he must choose righteousness or perish, he’ll miss the joy and the power that comes from being chosen.

David “won over all the men of Judah” because he chose them.  Most all of Israel had betrayed David during the uprising led by Absalom. They had rebelled against the king. After Absalom’s defeat and Israel realized its precarious position, they began to talk about the only thing that made sense; restoring David as king to His throne.

Too often, that’s the way it is with a new conversion to Christianity. One makes a decision to put Christ on the throne of His heart because it’s the only thing that makes sense. There’s no other choice for life eternal. Although true, there must be more to it, or we’ll end up like Israel did in the next chapter (20:2) “So all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba son of Bichri…”
Simply put, they rebelled in part because they weren’t chosen. I’m not talking about predestined election. I’m talking about a captain who wants you on his team.

I remember standing with those other kids, my heart racing with hope to be chosen but in contrast to the reality of precedent that had been firmly set. I can only imagine what it would have felt like to be chosen first.

With what effort might I have played then? How would I have felt about my captain when it looked like we were losing? To the end of the game, I would have been loyal to such a one, a captain who wanted me on his team.

When the unwanted are wanted, the unlovable are loved and the undeserving are esteemed worthy, a loyal army is formed.

Chapter 20:2 continues “…but the men of Judah…remained loyal to their king.”

Why? David chose them. When they weren’t even thinking about the next step in restoring David, he said “Come back.” He reached out to them.  He wanted them.

I pray we operate in life from the truth that a fruitful commitment to Christ is not powered by our choice for Him, but His choice for us; and not first by our surrender, but His.

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