Song of Songs 2:13b “Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”
The night arrived. Everyone in the eighth grade had been talking about the dance all week, and now it was time to get ready. I took extra time washing my hair and getting dressed, and then carefully picked the outfit that I thought would attract my Crush. He seemed a bit out of my league but I wasn’t too worried. I had heard rumors that he was interested and it was time to find out.
I nervously walked into the gym and quickly spotted my friends. We chatted about nothing important, most of us trying to nonchalantly peek around the room to see who had shown up. The murmur in the room was competing with the fast-paced music on the dance floor, but there weren’t many people dancing yet. And finally, to our delight, the DJ announced a “snowball” dance.
He hand-selected a couple to begin dancing. After about a minute, the couple was instructed to split and go find new partners. The process would repeat itself every minute or so, creating a snowball effect until everyone was dancing and no one was left standing. In theory, of course. Everyone else stood in a circle around the dance floor, each one secretly hoping to be picked, and my crush was picked almost right away. Trying not to be too obvious, I curiously eyed him the entire minute that he danced with the girl that had picked him, which seemed to last forever. I was dying for him to choose me next.
Then, at the next round, he came right up to me. I concealed my inner glee, took his hand, and marveled in the fact that I had been chosen.
It’s such a good feeling to be chosen. Whether it’s as simple as someone picking you as their science partner, the teacher calling on you when you know the answer (for once!), or that guy you’ve been eyeing coming over to say “hello.” Those are times we feel special, set apart, and uniquely important. It just feels good.
When have you been chosen? What did it feel like? How do you feel like you’ve been rejected? Has your “teen mom” status caused you to be rejected by anyone?
Reading and Questions
Read Matthew 9:9-13
Tax collectors were not regarded as moral people in those days. They were known to force the people into paying more than they owed, and then keeping the extra money for themselves. When Jesus is asked why he associates with these tax collectors and sinners, he answers,
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the ____________. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but ___________________” (verses 12b-13).
When Jesus says, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice, (v 13) he is quoting a verse from Hosea 6:6, in the Old Testament. Looking at the whole verse in Hosea, it says, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Another verse talks about this same issue: 1 Samuel 15:22 says, “But Samuel replied: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in ________________________ the voice of the LORD? To ____________ is better than sacrifice, and to ____________ is better than the fat of rams.’”
Both of these verses come from the Old Testament, a time when sacrifices were required by the law God gave them. It speaks volumes that God wants something more than sacrifices…he wants us to follow him!
Jesus didn’t come to watch people sacrifice cows and give money. He didn’t come to monitor what people were giving up for God. Are the sacrifices important? Sure! In the right contexts and with the right heart. But so many of the religious rulers in that time were only focused on who gave the best sacrifices and how much money they gave to the church. They didn’t care about listening to God, they just wanted to look good! And, in the meantime, they rejected the tax collectors and other “sinners” because the sinners weren’t holy enough to be with the religious leaders.
In the same way, some of us feel rejected by those around us because they think they are better than we are. They purposely excluded us from social events, dismissed our own efforts to do good, and written us off as “sinners” because, in their own eyes, they can’t seem to do any wrong (ha!).
How have you been beaten down by those around you?
Jesus wants us to know he came for something so much more.
Jesus came to have mercy on us. You, me, we’re all sinners. We can’t do things right. In some ways, we never get it right. We’re constantly making mistakes and being selfish and doing things we know we shouldn’t do. But instead of judging us, Jesus came to have mercy on us. He has compassion. He loves you. Long ago, he chose you to be here today, reading this message from him, and he wants you to know His love for you. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past or what you’re still doing today, nothing can take away God’s love for you. WE are the only roadblock between ourselves and experiencing God’s grace. God chose you.
He not only chose you, but he specifically pick out every innate character about you. You skin tone, your hair, your personality and even your voice. He put you together with such care and thoughtfulness, as an artist at the easel. In the bible, He says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” (Jeremiah 1:5a)
And even when you’ve completely ignored him and anything he’s asked of you, he continues to choose you. The bible also says, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
He chose you. And today he wants you to choose him.
So, as we sit here, feeling like the world seems to be doing everything it can to ignore us, remember that this very moment in time was picked for you. Personally. Because you are chosen.
What does it feel like to know that God has chosen you to be here?
Although the book was written between earthly lovers, parts of the Song of Songs can represent how Jesus feels about his church. We Christians are the church!
Read our memory verse at the top as a message from Jesus to you. How does it feel to know that you are chosen? Take some time right now to talk to God about being chosen by him. Then, take his command in Matthew 9:9, “Follow me.”
Psalm 64:1-6 How do you relate to this writer? Does it make you think of anything?
To print or download a copy of this study, click ChosenPDF.