WORD STUDY – CHOOSE (ARAMAIC) גבא
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.”
Something about the idea of God choosing use does not set right with me. I mean the idea of choosing means God is making a choice. Lucky you if He picks you and tough cookies if He doesn’t. Don’t try to tell me that God choses us all. That argument does not fit the idea of choosing. Choosing means favoring one thing over another and I just cannot believe God favors some individuals over others. I like to believe we are all equal in God’s eyes and all are just as precious.
The word in the Greek for choose is exelexas the from the root word eklego which means to elect, select or choose. It has the idea of a highly deliberate choice, a heart preference. Ok, the context seems to suggest this choosing is for the purpose of bearing fruit and perhaps you have to demonstrate your worthiness to be chosen for this task. Perhaps you need to get out there and show you can hack it. I don’t like that either. What is more disturbing is that this is the same word used in Ephesians1:4 “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” Does God actually choose some to be saved and others not. Lucky if you get chosen, too bad if you don’t.
As I have said many times, Jesus did not speak Greek but a Northern dialect of Aramaic. I found the word in Aramaic to be much more comforting. It is the word gava’ which basically means to collect. It is a word used for the cavity or vessel for collecting water as in a cistern or pond. A cistern or pond does not do anything to collect the water or rain. Not all drops of rain fall into the pond or cistern. The rain that falls into the cistern or pond is then used to nourish those that are not in the area of the fallen rain so they can bear fruit. The ones who fall into the pond or cistern of God are used to bring forth fruit.
Some of us just rain on the fruit by living our lives for God and people are blessed by it. Some fall into the cistern or pond where that water is used to bring hydration to areas that need extra water or are out of reach of the rain. In other words some of us are called to be pastors, evangelist, and missionaries. Most of us are just called to live our lives so that those around us are blessed. Most of us will not be called to a ministry, most of us will work secular jobs, some of use will never leave the little corner of the world that we live in for God has called us to be an influence to our friends and co-workers.
I believe Jesus was trying to show us by using the word gava’ that we all are the rain. We are all meant to bring nourishment to others, to bring them the news of the Gospel. Some are specifically called to be collected in a pond or cistern so as to nourish those out of reach. That water is really nothing special, nothing that should bring one honor. Water is water, some is just collected to reach areas unreachable but they are just as much the rain water as the rest of the rain that falls.
Not to get theological here, since I am not a trained theologian, but I like to think this whole idea of being chosen or predestined for salvation is basically along the same line. I know there are those who believe God choses some to be save and the ones not chosen by God are destined for hell and can’t do anything about it. But maybe Paul had the word gava’ in mind in Ephesians1:4, maybe he was saying that God doesn’t choose us for salvation but that He collects us, He gathers us together. “Whosoever will may come and take of the water of life freely” Revelations 22:17. The water motif sees to follow.
God wants everyone to be saved but not everyone will choose to fall into that cistern, pond or collection spot. In this case God has given those raindrops a choice, they can fall into that pond or cistern with the others who are collected by God, but it is their choice if they wish to just fall to the earth and be absorbed into the ground.
But as far as John 15:16 goes I believe the chosen are really the ones collected by God for the special and difficult tasks to reach the lost who do not have access to the Word of God. Most are just called to rain upon a dry and thirsty world to bring the Living Water. It is like that old song that says you may not sing like angels or preach like Paul but there is one thing we all can do and that is to tell the world that Jesus died for all.