God Chooses the Remnant
What God Values
America has this extreme fascination with the concept of bigness – that bigger is better. You have gargantuan food stores like Sam’s Club, big book and everything-under-the-sun distributors like Amazon, and big churches that cater to every whim of the worshipper. It seems as if everyone has bought into the bigness equals success mantra. However, when we cut through all the smoke and mirrors, does this capture the heart of God when it comes to growing his kingdom or church? No.
When I look at Scripture, Old and New, it becomes painfully clear that God works hard at making things smaller. He prides himself in whittling things down to the stump. He savors thinning things out. He enjoys refining all the impurities out of the rough ore of a team to produce something pure and valuable. He does this with individuals, too.
David's Disastrous Census
In 2 Samuel 24, David decides to do something God told him not to do: take a census. Even wicked Joab knew better and tried to counsel his king from doing this foolish thing (2 Sam 24:3). David does it anyway and pays a very steep price for his foolishness(seventy thousand men killed by the angel of the Lord). Why did he do this? He wanted to see the size of his empire and army in order to rely on it rather than God. It was an act of pride and independence. God wanted David reliant upon him and not his own strength. We see God delivering Israel not by strength of numbers, but by his almighty hand in Gideon’s and Jonathan’s case (Judges 7:2, 1 Sam 14:6). The Son of Jesse had a lapse in judgment and forgot these stories. He forgot that God works with people that trust in Him. He forgot about the small stones that felled Goliath. He forgot that God works with the few, the faithful, the remnant.
David veered from his pure relationship with God in this instance and started to trust in himself, to trust in man, and to make himself God. Again, David paid a very big price for this act of pride. God then chose extreme measures to develop quality in this servant, even allowing the death of 70,000 robust soldiers. Ouch!
What does this all mean? He values quality over quantity, dependence over independence, humility over pride, and His glory over man’s glory. One just needs to look at the Scriptures to prove these timeless truths.
Jesus Values the Remnant
In John 6, Jesus models God’s value of quality over quantity when he offends a multitude of believers by his famous flesh and blood message. He stated, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in yourselves.” Many could not stomach these words and said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” From that point on many of his so-called disciples left and only the twelve remained. He even told them to leave, too. They instead said, “Where can we go. You have the words of life!” They humbled themselves and chose to stay.
These disciples passed the test of offense, stayed the course, grew in humility, matured in trust, and became the nucleus of a quality team that turned the world upside down for the Kingdom of God. They were not scholars, millionaires, or anybody of worldly fame, but simple men who stayed faithful, available, and teachable to the King (Isaiah 66:1-2). This remnant made all the difference. They impacted the world because they allowed Jesus to refine them into quality disciples.
We see God’s desire for quality in a few rather than mediocrity in the many in how he picks, trains, and matures his disciples. The call goes out to the many, but he chooses only the humble, obedient, and surrendered ( Matt 22:14, Isaiah 66:1-2, 2 Chron 16:9). He chooses only the few.
Then he prunes them through trials and tribulations in order for them to produce more fruit (John 15:2). He did it with Moses, Jacob, Joseph, Peter, Paul, and every person that made a difference for the Kingdom of God. Only a few, however, choose to walk this narrow, confining path of humility and obedience (Matthew 7:13-14). It is too painful for the proud. The narrow path confines the flesh in order to produce fruit in the Spirit.
He cuts, prunes, thins out, chops, cleanses, and disciplines those whom he loves. He does this so we reflect his image. He does it so we lose the image of Satan and his prideful ways (Ezekiel 28). Humility is key. Humility characterizes the remnant. Again, only a few walk this path. Only a few become the chosen remnant. What will you choose during these tumultuous times? It will make all the difference, so choose wisely. God bless you all.