Mature Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert

The reason God chooses us is so that we can show forth the praises of him in this dark world.

I Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

It’s vitally important that when God chooses us, we choose him first and then God chooses us. Jesus said you haven’t chosen him but he chose you. God chooses us when he deals with us so we fully repent for sin and choose to serve him.

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

God chooses the way he wants us to live and show the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, kindness, meekness, longsuffering, patience, gentleness, and temperance.  He chooses us out of the world to live so people see we’re not like the world.

John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

We’re chosen to be saved and sanctified. We ask God to forgive us and forsake our sins. We serve God with all our heart but we come to a place where we willingly put ourselves completely 100% on the altar for God to use however he wishes.

II Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

If we’re not on the altar 100%, we’re not going to do what God wants us to do all the time. There’s still going to be a carnal nature that rises up to go against God. The only way we’ll endure to the end is to be sure we’re totally sold out.

Ephesians 1:4-11 According as he hath chosen us…we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ…according to the good pleasure of his will, To…glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted…we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will…That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ …have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after…his own will:

God dealt with Saul on the road to Damascus when Jesus asked why Saul was persecuting him. Saul trembled, astonished to realize he was persecuting Jesus. He fell down and asked what to do in complete submissive to do whatever God said. God said to go to Damascus where he’d be told what to do. God tells us what we must do to be a chosen vessel. We must be totally submitted to do whatever he asks. Ananias didn’t see the possibilities of Paul (Saul’s name was changed to Paul), but God saw a chosen vessel that would testify before Gentiles, kings and all Israel. God saw he would be willing to suffer great things. God sees a vessel different than we do. When he fills a vessel that belongs to him, God can use it how he wants.

Acts 9:10-16 And there was a certain disciple…named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision…Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul…he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias…putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard…of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints… And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said…Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel…to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

The clay has to be totally submissive to the potter’s hand. The clay won’t be moldable if there are rocks, stones, or dirt clods in it. When the vessel was first made, it was marred with something that wasn’t pliable so it had to be made over and that thing removed. God is saying can’t I do with you as the potter does the clay? The clay can’t tell the potter, I don’t want to do that. The potter molds clay as he wants to make all kinds of vessels. Everyone is different and all are different vessels for the Lord. God wants our vessel to stand up straight and open at the top so he can fill us. He wants us to be willing to be the vessel he wants and go where he does. God’s vessels aren’t used as ornaments to set on a shelf and do nothing. God makes a vessel to use in the kingdom. An empty vessel can’t be turned on its side or upside down. It is only filled if the mouth is open toward heaven for God to fill. We need to be open for God to use us however he wants.

Jeremiah 18:3-6 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel …was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again…as seemed good to the potter…the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?…as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand…

Jeremiah said Nebuchadnezzar was going to destroy Jerusalem, set the temple and palace on fire, break down the walls around the city and destroy it. He said God would take the families of the north and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon was his servant. Nebuchadnezzar served idols and didn’t believe in God, but God can use whoever he wants to work out his plan. Because the people wouldn’t listen to the prophets or to what God said, they were taken to Babylon for 70 years.

Jeremiah 25:4-11 And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets…but ye have not hearkened…They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings…And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. Yet ye have not hearkened…that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands…Because ye have not heard my words, Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north…Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land…will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment…And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

Hezekiah had a bad illness and God sent Isaiah to tell him to put his house in order because he was going to die. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed that God would spare his life. Isaiah returned and said God would spare his life. The king of Babylon sent a letter and gifts to Hezekiah when he heard Hezekiah was well. Hezekiah was happy the king of Babylon knew God healed him. Isaiah prophesied Hezekiah’s sons would be taken to be the eunuchs in the palace at Babylon.

Isaiah 39:3-7 Then came Isaiah…unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come…from Babylon. Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them. Then said Isaiah…Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house…shall be carried to Babylon…And of thy sons that shall issue from thee…shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.

King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and brought back about 20,000 people to be servants and slaves. He wanted children of the king’s seed and princes to be taught about the Chaldean’s and their language. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were among those. Daniel purposed in his heart that he wouldn’t defile himself with the king’s meat.

Daniel 1:3-8 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children…well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and…teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and…wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that…they might stand before the king. Now among these were…Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names…unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with…king’s meat, nor…wine which he drank…he requested of the prince of the eunuchs…

God gave Daniel favor with the prince of the eunuchs. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the eunuchs’ house and purposed in their heart to not defile themselves with the king’s meat or anything else in Babylon that was contrary to what God said. The king’s meat was unclean because they didn’t drain the blood when they killed the animal as the law said to do. The life was in the blood so God said not to eat blood. Daniel and his friends didn’t know if the meat was sacrificed to idols which would make it unclean. They ate meat in Jerusalem and always had lamb for the Passover. We have to purpose in our heart to not let things of the world affect us so we do anything contrary to what God wants.

Daniel 1:20-21 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired…he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers…in all his realm. And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.

God was the one that gave them knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and all the things they needed. When God chooses vessels, he chooses what to put in them. God put in Daniel a special gift of understanding dreams and visions. Daniel continued to the first year of King Cyrus 70 years later. They were 15 years old when they came to Babylon. They lived under different kings but God used them as vessels to show God is God regardless of the situations they were in. When Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and forgot it. He wanted the magicians and astrologers to tell him what it was. He was going to kill them all because they couldn’t tell it. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would be killed with them so Daniel asked the king for more time. He told his friends to desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this.

Daniel 2:17-19 Then Daniel…made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah…That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

Daniel was able to tell the king his dream so the king was very happy and made Daniel a great man. He and his friends were government officials and rulers because they trusted God. He used them to show his works in a foreign country.

Daniel 2:47-49 The king answered unto Daniel…Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a great man…made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Then Daniel requested …Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

Nebuchadnezzar made an idol of gold and wanted everyone to bow to it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were about 42 years old and wouldn’t bow to the idol. They were thrown in the fiery furnace but didn’t burn. Nebuchadnezzar again acknowledged God but never turned to God. Many people acknowledge God but they don’t want to serve God.

Daniel 3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake…Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

Ten years later Nebuchadnezzar had another dream. Daniel was called. He told the king he needed to repent of his sins, forsake them, and be kind to those that are poor. He didn’t do it. He was proud and lifted up, but he ended up out on the hillside eating grass like an ox. His hair was like bird feathers and his fingernails like bird claws. He was there for seven years – out of his mind, not knowing what was going on, and his mind came back to him at the end of seven years.

Daniel 4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

Nebuchadnezzar recognized God was ruling the universe, and rules over the just and the unjust. God does whatever he wants in the world. Then 68 years after Daniel and his friends came to Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar’s son Belshazzar had a big party. They drank wine in the gold and silver cups from the temple at Jerusalem. Suddenly handwriting was on the wall and the king was very fearful. The queen told him Daniel could interpret the writing. Daniel interpreted that the enemy was coming and would kill him. King Darius of Persia became king 69 years after Daniel came to Babylon. He was 84 years old.

Daniel 6:3-4…Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel …they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

The other leaders couldn’t find any fault in Daniel because he purposed in his heart not to defile himself since he came to Babylon. He was faithful, courageous, true, and trusted God no matter what he faced. Because they were jealous of him, the other leaders made a decree that anyone that prayed to anybody besides the king would be thrown in the lions’ den. The first thing Daniel did was to go pray like he had always done. It didn’t matter what the decree was, he wasn’t going to stop praying to God. We can’t stop praying regardless of situations, whether we feel like it or not. The enemy will make us think our prayers aren’t being heard but God hears the prayers of saints. Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den but God shut the lion’s mouth. Josephus the historian said some of the men said the lions didn’t eat Daniel because they had eaten. Darius had the lions fed a lot of meat and then those men with their families were thrown in the lion’s den. The lions tore them to pieces so it wasn’t that they weren’t hungry. God was in charge over everything. King Darius realized God is the one that rules and does whatever he wants in the universe. The next king was Cyrus king of Persia. In his first year and 70 years since Daniel came to Babylon, Daniel was still one of the presidents over Babylon.

Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house…windows being open…toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

The word of the Lord to Jeremiah was fulfilled. Cyrus served idols and didn’t believe in God but God stirred him up to send people back to Jerusalem. About 50,000 people went back to Jerusalem to rebuild. God chooses the vessels and has power over all the power of the enemy. God controls all the situations of life. We don’t have control. We’re just a vessel for God to use as he wishes. We need to be totally submitted to God so he gets glory and honor out of our life.

Ezra 1:1-3 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by…Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom…Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem…Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.