God’s Anger And Mercy

It was a rainy Sunday morning. As Harry turned into the main road, he saw ahead of him three bedraggled figures huddled under a single umbrella at the next bus stop. One was old Mrs Fletcher. She still insisted on getting to church by herself, despite her arthritis which was alwa … More

Sovereignty

This passage begins with a question which makes us ask, “Is God unjust in choosing Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau? Moses over Pharaoh and Israel over Egypt” (vv. 14-18)? Paul responds, “Not at all! God is not under obligation to give mercy to anyone.” In Malachi 1:2,3, the statement “Jacob I have loved but Esau I have hated” refers to the nations of Israel and Edom, rather than to the individual brothers. God chose Jacob to continue the family line of the faithful because he knew his heart was for God. But He did not exclude Esau from knowing and loving Him.

Paul then refers to Isaiah 45:9 and 29:16. Man, the created one, does not have a right to question God who is wiser and is the Creator, just like the clay has no right over the potter (vv. 19-22). The Creator has the same authority over His creatures which came from dust. Paul is not saying that some of us are worth more than others, but simply that the Creator has control over the created object. The created object, therefore, has no right to demand anything from its Creator; its very existence depends on him. All of us deserve condemnation, not mercy. However, we are not excused from responsibility. Pharaoh had many opportunities to learn about God and trust Him, yet he refused and chose to rebel. God prepares men for His glory, but sinners prepare themselves for judgment (vv. 23-24). We find in Moses and Israel how God showed the riches of His mercy. However, we see in Pharaoh and Egypt that God revealed His power and wrath. Neither deserved mercy.

Application

Am I submitted to God like the clay is to the potter? In other words, am I letting God conform me to His will? If so, my life should bring glory to God, and my actions should be those that please God.

Romans 9:14-24 (English Standard Version)

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

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