Psalm 135 (Psalms on the Trail)

Psalm 135:7

…who makes the clouds rise at the                                                 end of the earth…

“Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good,

sing to God’s name, for God is gracious.

For the Lord has chosen Jacob,

Israel for the Lord’s own possession.” Psalm 135:3-4

From knowing God as creator,  I might infer God’s power and gentleness,  interest in both large and minuscule beauty,  delight in patterns and chaos.  Still, a creator God can be quite unknowable—I’m only a creature after all.  But from knowing Jesus Christ, the human face of God, I know that God is good and gracious.  The psalmist acknowledges a result of God’s goodness and grace:  she and her people have been chosen by God.  Chosen, it is implied, purely by grace.  Chosen by God’s goodness.

I think most people have a hard time with this concept.  We choose or don’t choose what we will do and what we will wear and what brand we will buy and whom we will follow right?  Didn’t the disciples chose to follow Jesus?

Are you sure?

There is a wonderful (and perplexing) verse in John’s gospel, chapter 15:16 where Jesus tells his disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose you….”  I don’t for a minute believe this is an exclusive kind of choosing—that chose this group of people and not another.  After all, Jesus was the most inclusive leader!

Nevertheless, what if you followed Jesus around on foot and by boat for a few years, making all sorts of personal, family and economic sacrifices and Jesus tells you one day,  “You didn’t choose me.  I chose you.”  Stun time.

Would you feel like you’d been had for a puppet or would you feel beloved?  Would you feel pressured to do, or would you feel free to be?  What difference does it make that Christ chose you rather than the other way around?  Post you answers.


1. Read the verses and reflect on their meaning for you.  What difference does it make that Christ chose you rather than the other way around?

2. Or read Psalm 135 and see how these verse fits into the whole.

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that is a window of this psalm’s meaning for you.

The next post will be on Psalm 136.

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting a daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.


  1. Being chosen touches me deeply…because there have been so many things for which I HAVEN’T been chosen. When I was o.k, but not good enough….This choosing isn’t because of what I have to do to be chosen. Simply because I am beloved. Simply because I AM…Wow…

  2. Chuck Miller says:

    Being chosen (aka unconditionally loved and accepted) frees me. It frees me from fear; from earning and always wondering if it is enough. It frees me from hiding and pretending I’m one thing, when deep down I know I am another. It frees me to love without judging and condemning, because I have been lovingly forgiven. It frees me from manufacturing identities for myself, because I am now new in Someone else in whom I live and am. Being chosen restores my wholeness; something I could never do for myself.