Romans 9

Romans 9 begins a conversation about Israel that Paul continues through chapters 10 and 11. He makes sure to emphasize how the Jewish people are God’s chosen people to be His adopted children. He gave them the Law and He made covenants with them beginning with Abraham. Yet, their idea of getting right with God turned into a legalism of following the Law rather than trusting in God (see verse 32). We will get into this more with the next two chapters because Paul goes into greater detail concerning the Israelites and the importance of the Jewish people in the storyline that God set in motion from the foundations of the earth.

Today I want to draw emphasis to something that might mess with a lot of people’s theology.

“So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it. For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, ‘I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying My power in you and to spread My fame throughout the earth.’ So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and He chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.” – Romans 9:16-18 (NLT)

I’m not sure how many people in our church culture today would actually be willing to accept the fact that this is in Scripture, but there it is. From the very mouth of Paul, who was chosen by God in His mercy to bring forth the Truth to the Gentiles. The first sentence alone is a direct hit to the face.

“So it is God who decides to show mercy.” Meaning, He can either show mercy, or He can withhold mercy. He can soften our hearts, or He can choose to harden them for the sake of showing His power and glory. For His purposes. He did this with Pharaoh, for the sake of His people Israel. And if God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8), then this means He still does this today.

So what does that look like? Well, I think of King Saul, who had been rejected by the Lord because of his disobedience to Him. God hardened his heart and used him to establish David as His new king of Israel. In the same way that the Lord used rulers like Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, Pilate, _______. He even allowed Hitler to wreak the havoc that he did on the earth (I know, that’s a hard reality to realize). These people were already bent on evil. They had no intentions of doing good. Even Nebuchadnezzar, who was more willing and yielded to the Lord than the others, was still bent on evil. But God used each of these people for a specific purpose. He hardened each of their hearts for the sake of revealing a deeper truth about Himself, and to reveal His glory to the earth.

In the same way, God has used both Donald Trump and Joe Biden for a specific purpose in His grand plan. God establishes rulers, and He tears them down just the same. As Daniel 2:21 tells us, “He controls the course of world events; He removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.”

It may not make sense to any of us in our natural minds, but God never promised us that it would make sense. He promised us that He would never leave us nor forsake us, as long as we keep our faith and trust in Him. He is not shaken by anything, and we have access to this unshakeable quality if we remain planted in Him, the Rock that stands firm through the ages.

I really sense in the Spirit that this reality is something that we (the Believers) must hold onto in the coming days. And I get the sense that it is something that not many currently have in their arsenal. We must get back into this reality and mentality. We must walk in this understanding. Failing to do so will be detrimental to all who are outside of this.

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