Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
We are in Romans Chapter 9 - where we see such a transition - there is such a difference. The atmosphere is different - the topic is different - but it is a developing from all that has gone before. Just as Jesus grew and developed - we see something similar as we move on in this letter.
Paul is dealing with the place which Israel continues to have in the economy or plan of God. There is a transformation from Joy to Sorrow - Assurance to Burden - Hope to Heaviness.
We have been reading of the Personal Problems of Paul - and this burden arises when he saw his relatives out of Christ - and out of The Will of God.
After all the Jews had been given from God - it was as if they had thrown it all back into His Face - as they rejected His Most Wonderful Gift of Love - and crucified Jesus.
Here is a man with an intense desire - a love which is real and deep - and a compassion which just overflows. Paul realised that God’s people had failed - and as a man of God he did not want to fail.
In Christ, we are Abraham’s children - when we have faith similar to the faith which Abraham had. The patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – see the link - the connection - how Old and New and related and relevant.
Verse 14 . If God chose those people - is that unfair? Is God fair? Is there injustice? Paul faces up to this - many will say God is unfair or unjust - but such a person does not know God. God is always just and righteous. Questioning the ways of God is a barren fruitless exercise. We accept what He does and the ways in which He does things. That is the best response. The origin of everything that is important to us is in God’s Will.
Verse 16 . None of us deserves to be chosen. We are chosen, out of God’s mercy.
There are times when we just have to leave all this choosing business to God.
It is not up to us - aren’t you grateful - that you are chosen because God decided to choose you and call you. And are you not glad that God does not remember all your bad deeds!
Verse 19 . We are given this warning concerning talking back to God.
Verse 20 . For people who do not like the way the way they are - or what God has done with them - God is the Potter - we are the clay. God’s plan - He has a perfect plan which we will not see fully until everything is over down here. Seldom does He give an explanation. Over all these years of walking with God - I have never asked for an explanation. I have never asked Him to give me reasons for doing what He did - for leading me in a certain way. Yes, I have often wondered WHY - but I have never asked for a full explanation - probably because I knew He would not tell me. God is God - and man is man. And man is foolish when he tries to answer back to God.
By the way – if God gave us a full explanation of why certain things happened in our lives – as soon as we asked – would that really help us? I think not!
And yet, this mighty God so loved us that He sent Jesus to save us from our sins - to heal - help - guide - enlighten - empower with The Holy Spirit.
Even when Paul is deeply concerned about his own flesh and blood - he is open to see the truth clearly. He did not let circumstances influence him - or overwhelm him. Some questions God does not answer.
We don’t need to be able to answer everybody’s questions - we don’t need to be theological encyclopedias. That is a tremendous relief.
Verse 24 . God has picked us - chosen us - selected us - called us. I am choosing you. I wanted you. I want you – Jew and Gentile!
I am choosing you because I have decided to choose you. It is not just an arbitrary choice (based upon opinion) or capricious (based upon a whim - irregular).
God is using the Jews to give a double demonstration of His Justice and His Mercy - to others who did not belong to their race.
If you don’t believe in the mercy of God, look at the Jews - if you don’t believe in the punishment and judgement of God, look at the Jews.
God demonstrated both - through The Jews - that we might be saved.
Verse 25. Not everybody outside Israel will be lost! Hosea 2verse 23 . Here is the other side of this Grace.
Isaiah is quoted - Not everybody inside Israel will be saved. And no-one will be in the wrong place.
If God treated the Jews as they deserved, they would be dead like Sodom and Gomorrah.
What He has done over these past 2,000 years was to allow The Gentiles (us) to come in.
Chapters 9 to 11 help give us a more accurate view of God - a proper insight into that side of the character of God which is frequently overlooked. God is righteous and fair. Whatever You choose to do O Lord, You are right.
One of the things we see in these Chapters is that the Jews who had been looking for the Messiah missed Him - and those who were not looking for the Messiah found Him. This is one of the greatest mysteries in history.
It is when we move into Chapter 10 that the emphasis moves to human responsibility. It is God’s Choice and my choice. God chooses and I have to respond. It is called a paradox - something that appears absurd but is actually true. e.g. The more holy a man is, the less holy he feels.
The nearer you come to Jesus the more you see how far you still have to travel.
Notice how when Paul talks to The Jews he quotes from The Prophets. And when he is talking to the Gentiles, he doesn’t use so many texts.
Verse 30 - The Gentiles came by faith. The Jews at that time tried to come with their good works.
Verse 33 . Paul quotes from Isaiah - It is a picture of floodwaters - and not standing on the stone - but trying to swim against the floodwater - and not being able to - and being dashed against the rock that should have been your salvation - your safety - your eternal security.
This is taken from the illustration in Isaiah - a flood of judgement is upon you - 8 verse 14,28 verse 16 - if you are not safely and securely upon the rock - you will be dashed against it.
1Peter 2verses 6 - 8 . Peter also quotes this verse. A flood of judgment is coming upon sin. So stand upon the Rock now - don’t try to swim against the floodwaters - you cannot.
God gave them a Rock - Jesus - but as they swam hard for a righteousness of their own - they failed - they stumbled over what they should have stood on - and they sink.
Chapter 10 verse 1 . My heart’s desire and prayer is - that they may be saved.
You could almost take this verse as a theme - particularly as we seek God for the way forward. Paul never lost his zeal and compassion for his own people – and neither should we.
“Almighty God – our sovereign God – our gracious God – when we do not see the way ahead clearly – or understand why things have happened in our lives – enable us to trust You. Jesus, You never let people down – or disappoint – You never fail those whom you call – so help us to go on with faith and love and joy – giving thanks for Your utter faithfulness and loyalty. Amen.”
"Word from Scotland" from
Almighty God Calls You to Spend Time in His PresenceRead Article »
Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
Receive the newest devotional each week in your inbox by joining the "Word from Scotland" subscription list. Enter your email address below, click "Go!" and we will send you a confirmation email. Follow the instructions in the email to confirm your addition to this list.