July 5, 2016: Day 37 – Romans 9July 5, 2016
This is going to be a short one, but not because of the content of chapter 9. I just got back from Jacksonville, Florida. That’s a long trip in one day. But we do have to focus on the concept that Paul raises in regards to the potter and the clay. He begins that section by stating that God’s perspective is: I have loved Jacob, but Esau I hated. There has been much debate as to poor Esau and why God hated him. We really don’t know why God chose Jacob. But that is the point of the potter and the clay.
The clay, that would be us, would never have the right to say to the potter, that is God, why did you make me this way? We who have been created by God are never in a position to question why God made us in a certain way. The same principle can be applied to the question of: Why do bad things happen to good people? There can be no sense that we have a right in questioning God as to his judgment or his actions. There are a myriad of examples where the psalmist cries out to God in anger, but never remains in that anger. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me leads to a rejoicing that God has conquered His enemies. This is the assurance that we have. Even if we do not understand why things happen in this world, we can be convinced that they do happen, as the last chapter stated, that they happen for a reason. All things truly do work for good for those who trust in the Lord.
This brings to mind the parable of the workers in the vineyard, not the concept that salvation can occur at the very end of the day, but the idea “Who are we to question God?” The owner asks, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?”
I also think of Job: “Who are you, O man, to talk back to God?” It is easy to side with Job in his challenge against God until God puts him in his place. When Job recognizes God’s greatness and his own unworthiness, when God says to Job, “Would you condemn me to justify yourself?” we begin to see the folly of Job’s challenge and our challenges to God. We are all sinners and so can never be justified (and should never desire God’s righteous justice). It is only the mercy of God that saves us.