Chapter 9: God is Sovereign!
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Romans 9: 1-5
Hello again! In case you didn’t notice, this week’s page wasn’t quite so full. That doesn’t mean it’s not a meaty chapter, though. It just means that chapter 8 skeered me and I didn’t draw as much this time.
Verses 1-5 tell us that Paul is grieved that his kinsmen won’t accept Christ. He gives a list of all of the things they were blessed with leading up to Messiah, and shows just WHY they (of all people) should’ve been ready to follow Him. I counted seven things in there. How many do you see? Make a list of all of the blessings Ha’Shem bestowed upon His chosen seed, Israel.
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. Romans 9:6-13
Verse six sums everything to come up: The Word of God is what goes. He’s the one who gets to choose what happens with people. And it shows some of his choices, here. in vs 7-8 it shows Him electing Abraham to be the one from which comes His promised seed. Then Abraham has Ishmael and Isaac, and Isaac is selected to be the chosen one (even though he wasn’t Abraham’s firstborn). By the way, that’s why the Muslims hate Israel so much – they’re the line of Ishmael, and they weren’t the chosen ones. Then from Isaac came Jacob and Esau, and even though Esau was firstborn, Yehovah chose Jacob to be His chosen one. I drew pictures (you could do a family tree or flow chart) to show the choices, and which way Yehovah went.
(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) … What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. … Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Romans 9: 11, 14-16, 18-19
Don’t be mad at me for jumping around a little. First I re-quoted verse eleven, then read on, skipping verse 17. Mostly because verse 17 is a summary of what all of these verses say. We’ll get to that in a moment. But do these three sections of verses have in common. Take a look, and share what you think. I came to the conclusion that the message here is that the Lord chooses who He will have mercy on even before they are born or commit any sin. So there’s no prejudice based on bad behavior or station or anything else. It’s just His choice. Now for verse 17:
For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Romans 9:17
And there it is. The whole reason for making there be a choice of God’s in the first place: Because without a selection to reject, His power is not seen. In other words, there can be no triumph without a ‘Pharoah’ to triumph over. There’s no display of power without something to have power over. He wouldn’t be sovereign if there were no decisions to display His sovereignity.
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Romans 9:20-23
Ah…! ♫♪♫ Have Thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way… Thou art the potter, I am the clay…♫♪♫ ((Love to sing!)) ♫♪♫ Mold me and make me, after Thy will, while I am waiting, yeilded and still…♫♪♫ Okay. Hadda finish it. We can talk about the lovely pot I got to draw on my page. But basically this is just another illustration of Verse 17. He’s great and mighty Creator, and a Creator can make a fine urn to hold expensive herbs and oils or a garbage bin for stanky trash. ((Just sayin’.)) It’s poetic… but it ain’t got NUTHIN’ on the next verse:
Even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? Romans 9:24
PRAISE HA’SHEM that His mercy is not just for the Jews! I have to tell you… for a while there, I wondered if maybe – somewhere back in my furthest backiest geneology – maybe there was some Jewish blood… and that was why I have been called of Him to explain certain things. But y’know what? This was a real revelation for me (myself). Because while it would be kewl to have come from some lost tribe of Israel that got lost during the diaspora in AD70… the truth is that it’s WAY more amazing and wonderful that I’m NOT a physical Jew, and He *STILL* chose me, in His mercy! (((Insert smilie face, beaming ear to ear.))) That’s… just so… There are no words.
As he saith also in [Hosea], I will call them My people, which were not My people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. [Isaiah] also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: For He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. And as [Isaiah] said before, Except the Lord of [the Sabbath] had left us a seed, we had been as Sodom, and been made like unto Gomorrah. Romans 9:25-29
Y’know how I just said it was so amazing and wonderful it is that He chooses me… even as a Gentile? Well, this phenomena was predicted in the Old Testament. Paul is referencing the scriptures, here. Check out Hosea 2:23, Isaiah 10:22-23, and Isaiah 1:9, and see if they actually match up to what he’s written here in Romans. Paul isn’t just making stuff up, here. He’s quoting scripture to back up everything he’s stating!
What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. Romans 9:30
Here we go with the faith/works thing, again. Verse 30 is the ‘Faith’ part of things. It says that the Gentiles – NOT chosen to be the Lord’s special lineage – STILL attained righteousness by Faith. Which would lead us to believe that all you have to do is have faith, and you’re good to go. Believe in Jee-zus, and you’re saved, brother! Um… no. Because if you look in James 2:17, it says that ‘faith without works is dead’. Just because this particular verse doesn’t show the entire picture before the next verse takes up the rest of the thought, doesn’t mean it can be ripped out of context and used against the rest of scripture. Faith doesn’t EVER negate obedience.
But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Romans 9:31
Here’s the flip side to vs 30: The Jews – who WERE chosen to be the Lord’s special lineage – could not attain righteousness by works (remember that verse “not by works of righteousness, which we have done…” (Titus 3:5)? Or how about “…[we are saved thru faith], and yet not of ourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works… (Ephesians 2: 8-9ish… you can read the whole thing yourself).
It’s like I’ve been saying for years, now. The Jews have obedience to Torah, but not faith in Messiah. The christians have faith in Messiah (well… a Western version that’s stripped of his Judaism and weakened into something called ‘Jee-zus’), but not obedience to Torah. BUT… in Paul’s time, he was teaching them to have BOTH. That’s what the sign of an actual follow of Ha’Shem is: both a believer in Messiah Yeshua and an obedient servant via the commandments of Torah. And I’m not just talking about the top ten most popular, here.
Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Romans 9:32-33
The two verses Paul is quoting here are Jeremiah 6:21 and Isaiah 8:14. There are two other ‘stumbling block’ verses, too – they’re 1 Corinthians 1:23 and 1 Peter 2:8. Read the verses, please, because you need to SEE them for yourself. THE JEWS WERE FORETOLD TO REJECT THE MESSIAH!!! Can you believe that? Incredible! And what’ll really bake your noodle later (<<Matrix reference) is the realization that the Jews read the Tanach (OT prophet books) every single year in Parshat [daily portions]… so they should KNOW that they were foretold to reject the Messiah, so in hindsight, wouldn’t they know that Yeshua bar Yosef of Nazareth – who was rejected of the Jews – was the one they were prophesied to not accept… as they currently are? I’m just sayin. It’s kind of cray-zay to wrap your mind around, if you think about it.
And that wraps up another amazing study session. I don’t know about you, but I’m loving this…!
NoTe: I have concerns. If this fall is ‘The Year’… I’m not going to make it thru Romans before the end of the feasts. Which means I won’t be able to finish this series. Have been considering possibilities… speeding it up and doing two a week? The thing about that is that I’d have to either a) schedule them to show up later, or b) back-date them and link on the sidebar and then ‘bring them up’ as we get there, c) combine the study part with the journal part (that’d be too long, don’t you think!?) or d) just link to the journal page (as a .jpg) and post the link at the front of the study. Not sure what to do…