Verse 4. For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself. Jehovah hath chosen Jacob. Should not the sons of Jacob praise him who has so singularly favoured them Election is one of the most forcible arguments for adoring love. Chosen! chosen unto himself! -- who can be grateful enough for being concerned in this privilege "Jacob have I loved", said Jehovah, and he gave no reason for his love except that he chose to love. Jacob had then done neither good nor evil, yet thus the Lord determined, and thus he spake. If it be said that the choice was made upon foresight of Jacob's character, it is, perhaps, even more remarkable; for there was little enough about Jacob that could deserve special choice. By nature Jacob was by no means the most lovable of men. No, it was sovereign grace which dictated the choice. But, mark, it was not a choice whose main result was the personal welfare of Jacob's seed: the nation was chosen by God unto himself, to answer the divine ends and purposes in blessing all mankind. Jacob's race was chosen to be the Lord's own, to be the trustees of his truth, the maintainers of his worship, the mirrors of his mercy. Chosen they were; but mainly for this end, that they might be a peculiar people, set apart unto the service of the true God.
And Israel for his peculiar treasure. God's choice exalts; for here the name is changed from Jacob, the supplanter, to Israel, the prince. The love of God gives a new name and imparts a new value; for the comparison to a royal treasure is a most honourable one. As kings have a special regalia, and a selection of the rarest jewels, so the Lord deigns to reckon his chosen nation as his wealth, his delight, his glory. What an honour to the spiritual Israel that they are all this to the Lord their God! We are a people near and dear unto him; precious and honourable in his sight. How can we refuse our loudest, heartiest, sweetest music? If we did not extol him, the stones in the street would cry out against us.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 4. For the LORD hath chosen, etc. God's distinguishing grace should make his elect lift up many a humble, joyful, and thankful heart to him. --John Trapp.
Verse 4. Jacob, Israel. Praise the Lord for enroling you in this company. To quicken you in this work of praise, consider what you were; you were not a people, God raised you up from the very dunghill to this preferment; remember your past estate. Look, as old Jacob considered what he had been when God preferred him ( Genesis 32:10 ); "With my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am become two bands;" so do you say, I am a worthless creature, it is God that hath taken me into his grace, praised be the Lord that hath chosen me. Then consider how many are left to perish in the wide world. Some live out of the church's pale that never heard of Christ, and many others have only a loose general form of Christianity. Oh! blessed be God that hath chosen me to be of the number of his peculiar people. It is said ( Zechariah 13:8 ), "And it shall come to pass in all the land, saith the Lord, that two parts shall be cut off and die, but the third shall be left therein." We pass through many bolters before we come to be God's peculiar people, as the corn is ground, bolted, searched before it comes to be fine flour. Many have not the knowledge of God, and others live in the church but are carnal; and for me to be one of his peculiar people, a member of Christ's mystical body, oh! what a privilege is this! And then what moved him to all this? Nothing but his own free grace. Therefore praise the Lord. -- Thomas Manton.
Verse 4. His peculiar treasure. The Hebrew word scgullah signifieth God's special jewels, God's proper ones, or God's secret ones, that he keeps in store for himself, and for his own special service and use. Princes lock up with their own hands in secret their most precious and costly jewels; and so doth God his: "For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure", or for his secret gain. --Thomas Brooks.
Verse 4. His peculiar treasure. Will not a man that is not defective in his prudentials secure his jewels? "They shall be mine in that day when I make up my jewels, and I will spare them as a father his son that serveth him:" Malachi 3:17 . If a house be on fire, the owner of it will first take care of his wife and children, then of his jewels, and last of all, of his lumber and rubbish. Christ secures first his people, for they are his jewels; the world is but lumber and rubbish. --Richard Mayhew.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 4. It is a song of praise, and therefore election is mentioned because it is a motive for song.
- The Choice -- "The Lord hath chosen." Divine. Sovereign. Gracious. Immutable.
- The Consecration -- "Chosen Jacob to himself." To know him. To preserve his truth. To maintain his worship. To manifest his grace. To keep alive the hope of the Coming One.
- The Separation -- implied in the special choice. By being taken into covenant: Abraham and his seed. By receiving the covenant inheritance: Canaan. By redemption. By power and by blood out of Egypt. Wilderness separation. Settled establishment in their own land.
- The Elevation. In name -- from Jacob to Israel. In value -- from worthless to precious. In purpose and use -- crown jewels. In preservation kept as treasures. In delight -- God rejoices in his people as his heritage.