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WHY GOD ELECT UNLIKELY CANDIDATES: FOUR DEFINITIVE REASONS





More than twice have I been in a Christian gathering where the choice of leadership by God became so unexpected and astounding to the choice committee and the whole Assembly of God. Reason being that, the expectation of everybody was rather on a goodly brother or sister whom when it comes to choice (humanly speaking I guess) is unbeatable, loved by everyone and his/her good reputation is one thing that everyone loves and admires. However, in cases such as this, the expectation of people often becomes marred in that out of untold or oblivion comes the candidate (perhaps I should say the spokeman) whom God has chosen.

 A vivid imagery of this thought that comes to mind is that particular time when God decided to choose for Himself a King in Israel after the Spirit of the Lord has left Saul the King. God send the prophet Samuel to the household of Jesse for one his sons have been chosen to be the King over Israel. Jesse made seven of his sons (without respect to, nor having the thought of the least of them who was in the bush tendering the sheep) to pass before the Samuel. In the same voice (bearing the same word) spoke he to every one of them, God has not chosen this. 1 Samuel 16:1-13.

Why God decided to choose the least amongst the brothers may to us be a mystery, but for this one reason we should be thankful, God sees what we cannot see and he never asks for our recommendations. When he chooses a candidate for His assignment, He does so for reasons all His own (best known to Him).

The Mystery of election, predestination, (Pre) ordination and divine Sovereignty of God when it comes to choice is one thing I have made up my mind never to pry into nor seek to know or understand in that they are mysteries that belongs to the deep and mysterious Profound of God omniscience, beside, trying to unravel them will only make a theologian, it cannot make a saint. The safest and the best we can do is to raise our eyes to God in deepest reference to say “O Lord Thou Knowest”.     

Haven’t said that, we can go on to read the biographies of some of the great men and women of God to raise our suggestions as to why God chooses them.

Interestingly, one would discover that most of them, if not all, rose out of obscurity, and were placed in a position of being used by God. Some of these great saints who were chosen of God as at then I would say may have no place or will be overlooked by any church board of today.

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TAKE FOR INSTANCE, JACOB: AN UNLIKELY CANDIDATE.

So much could be said of that colorful man, Jacob, that it probably deserves a book of its own. You can read his story in the book of Genesis, but I want to search out the one central factor of his life that is important to us now. That important aspect of Jacob’s life was that he met God in a way that utterly transformed him.

Every move of God in an individual heart begins with a deep sense of discontent. This was true of Jacob.

To begin with, Jacob was anything but a worthy character. In the first place, his home life was unfortunate. The home that the brothers, Jacob and Esau, grew up in was not ideal in any aspect. Rebekah and Isaac, their mother and father, seemingly led separate lives, though they never divorced. Rebekah favored Jacob, and Isaac favored Esau. They lived together and raised their two sons together. The neighbors never knew anything much was wrong with them, but the fact is, they were divided in their hearts.

It would be laughable if it were not so tragic that Isaac loved Esau because Esau brought home his favorite meat. Isaac loved the man Esau because Esau was a hunter and would go out and get venison for him. That is a poor excuse of a relationship between a father and son.

Rebekah’s relationship with Jacob was just as toxic.
Jacob’s character showed weaknesses-moral flaws that were beyond the normal. My grandmother would have said he was attached to his mother’s apron string. Jacob stayed with his mother even until he was into middle life.

A major flaw with Jacob was his sneaky nature, which bordered on the perilous. Everybody he encountered he tricked into doing something. Nothing seemed to be beneath him. He was such a crook. His name, Jacob, means “crooked,” so they certainly named that boy well.

Jacob had a streak of greediness in him - a streak of larceny, if you ask me. Remember the time when Jacob was cooking up some pottage, and Esau came from the field without having caught anything that day, and he was hungry? Esau was so hungry that he said to his brother, “Give me a bowl of your stew.”

Jacob took advantage of the situation and said, “What will you give me?”
“I am ready to die. What is my birthright worth then?” said Esau.
“Give me your birthright and I’ll give you some stew,” demanded Jacob.
Jacob cheated his brother out of that birthright.

Later on, with his mother’s help, Jacob cheated his father. It was a sneaking, deceitful, dirty trick that Jacob pulled on his blind father. What is confusing is that Isaac did not know his own son. He lived with those boys, yet he did not recognize their voices. He did say, “It does sound like Jacob’s voice, but I will admit those are the hairy arms of Esau.”

He stretched out his arms and blessed Jacob with the firstborn’s blessing and never stopped to inquire of God. He seemed to do it all on his own. That is the kind of home Jacob came out of.

Jacob had a calculating, bargaining spirit; and even when he had this great vision, he brought this bargaining spirit over to his relationship with God. His attitude was, “God, if You will bless me, I will tithe.”

The only thing Jacob could do morally, as far as any hope of God was concerned, was to go back and sit down. Granted, his family life was tough, his quality of character was bad and his parents showed favoritism and partiality, thus dividing the family. Jacob would have been voted the man least likely to get right with God, because there was nothing in him to recommend it.

Anybody who watched Jacob’s slithery, sinuous, serpentine conduct would have said, “There’s no use looking at that fellow; he is hopeless.” But God saw otherwise.

There is a deep mystery here that no one could claim to understand. Somebody who may have all the characteristics of a gentleman may be a million miles from God and remain perfectly satisfied with himself. And somebody with no qualifying characteristics may be just the one God uses.

Nobody would have given any hope for Jacob to be used of God. But I have discovered that God specializes in hopeless cases.
If it were up to me, I never would have chosen Jacob. My choice would have been Esau. I find him to be a much better person than Jacob ever was.

There was not really that much bad about Esau; it was always Jacob who had a crooked view of everything around him. I think I could have gotten along with Esau.

I’m thankful that it was not up to me, but up to God. God saw something in Jacob that was not in Esau. God saw in Jacob that which could be used for His purposes. Although Esau was a wonderful person, there was not anything in him that God could identify with at this point.


What was the difference?





1. He Had A Holy Discontentment

Jacob had a great dissatisfaction and discontentment with himself and a longing after God deep within. God cannot help anyone who does not first have a deep discontentment with himself. Jacob was deep in sin, but not so deep that it followed him to the life of another world. Esau was not so deep in sin, but he was satisfied with what he had. The worst thing that can be said about Esau was that he was spiritually satisfied, and that damned him.

I am not too worried about how far a man has gone, but I am greatly concerned about what direction he is headed. I am concerned whether he is aimed in the right way or not and I am concerned about whether he is longing after God. If we do not long after God, we will remain right where we are. We will come to a place where we are spiritually stalled. Why is it that some good people are satisfied with the status quo, especially in their spiritual life? They are nice people, nice to live around, but they never have that spark. And why do some of the most crooked people, the most sinful people, with a bad disposition and evil temperament reveal that they are deeply troubled and have a longing, a spark leaping up, after God? Such was the case with Jacob.

The discontentment was God trying to get through to the man Jacob. Jacob was self-stricken because he had cheated his father; he was sick because he had to leave his mother and his home; and he was feeling afraid and uncertain and was in a state of complete loneliness. It was the perfect set-up for life transformation.


The Path to Life Transformation
We see Jacob at his worst, but we find him on his way to meet God and become the best. Jacob the worst became Jacob the best, and Jacob the crook become a prince with God and had his name changed to Israel. What was the path that brought this change?


2. He Was Alone With God

Jacob was alone with God. You must have God all by yourself. You and God alone have to figure things out. If you have never learned or never experienced the depths of loneliness before God, chances are you are not in the position to have God do very much for you. All the great men had to go to God alone. God had to let this all work out to get Jacob by himself in a state of complete loneliness. That was when God appeared to Jacob.

Before any man will start to woo God, God must begin to woo the man. God must be there first. So God appeared to Jacob, and that was the reason for his discontent and unrest in his heart and the aimless activity he was going through.
The eternal mystery had been overshadowing the man Jacob.

As Jacob fled from his home, one of the most wonderful things happened to him. He lay down that night in the wilderness, and as he slept, he saw a ladder that reached up into the heavens “and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it” (Gen. 28:12).


3. He Got Awakened To His Need For God

The thing I like about this is that when Jacob awoke from that dream, he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not” (Gen. 28:16). God was there all the time. He had been there all the time and was patiently waiting for Jacob.

Jacob awoke out of his sleep and suddenly had an awakening of the inner life. He was awakened to the shining wonder of God and His kingdom. “God is here and I knew it not” is the theme of those who have been awakened to the reality of God; who have been awakened to the fact that we belong to God, and God belongs to us; that we are His, He is ours and we do not belong to anybody else.

We need to be awakened to the fact that we must deal with God who has been following us all this time. This is the mystery, because how can it be that God comes, follows us and introduces this desire into our hearts? I just know that there is something in us akin to God. That does not mean we are saved, because “except ye repent and are born again ye shall likewise perish.”

Something in us responds to that Majesty we call God.

God is trying to get the signal through to us, but the ones who are satisfied with what they have hear nothing. Only those like Jacob, who are discontent and uneasy and living with a bad conscience, see something; they hear something, and they will meet God after all.

Christ is the point where we experience God. Christ is the One who is the man side of God where we can relate to God and come into fellowship with God.

God is pursuing us through the Lord Jesus Christ. He wants us to break through into a state of spiritual awareness.

When Jacob awakened out of his sleep, it was more than waking out of physical somnolence; it was a sudden awakening to the shining wonder of the knowledge of God and the faith of Christ, even before His incarnation in the womb of the Virgin Mary. We can never comprehend this, nor is it something that can be explained.

We have tried to make God in our image, and because we have made Him in our image, we think we can explain everything He is supposed to do. If you can explain everything about God, it really isn’t God.

Those men who met God had spiritual experiences nobody could define, much less define it themselves. All they could do was stand in silent adoration.

All they could do was rejoice. All they could do was enjoy it and thank God and obey God and come back for more and rejoice some more and go obey God some more.


4. He Had Acute Desire To Know God Above All Else

As crooked as old Jacob was, he had one redeeming quality: He had a holy discontent in the depths of his heart where he wanted to know God, and God knew it. God knew that nothing could keep Jacob out if he wanted to know God bad enough, and Jacob did.

If you are not discontented, but you are satisfied with where you are, then I do not know anything that can be done. I do not know anything anybody can do.

There was nothing anybody could do for Esau. Esau was satisfied with himself and his life. He possessed no spiritual longing. Nowhere in the whole life of Esau was there any evidence of moral discontent or spiritual yearning. It is the most precious treasure you have-that spiritual longing in your heart for God.

Jacob was not a prophet in the sense of what we are talking about here. Jacob illustrates for us how God can take a man who looks like nothing and can use him.

Concluding thought: God can take such a man who is discontent with his spiritual life and has a longing for God, and God can meet that man in the splendor of experience and use that man for His honor and glory. In order to be a voice for God, the prophet had to have such an encounter with God that lifted him above his own moral weakness.

O God of Jacob, how we identify with that man, and how we identify with the discontent he experienced in his own life. May we never be satisfied with ourselves and where we are, and may we have a longing for You that will enable You to break through and meet us where we are.
Amen and amen.

Reference: The voice of a prophet and the Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer



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