Romans 9:22-29

In Romans 9:22-29 Paul poses some tough questions for us to ponder. If God chooses to glorify Himself through letting people go their own way and letting them righteously receive His wrath so as to make His power known, who can oppose Him? “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?” Paul does not say that God has prepared them for destruction. Those vessels do an adequate job on their own.

Paul returns to his history lesson as he describes God’s ultimate ability to do as He wishes. God told the prophet Hosea to name one of his children Lo-Ammi, meaning “Not My People.” Yet God also promised that this judgment would not last forever. One day Israel will be restored and once again be called sons of the living God. “As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.'” God will call His people back someday. “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.‘”

And then Paul moves on to Isaiah who speaks first to God’s work in saving a remnant from the coming Assyrian destruction. The suffering of God’s people at the hands of the Assyrians and others would make them feel as if they would certainly be destroyed. God assures them that this is not the case. He will always preserve His remnant. “And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” God again shows His faithfulness.

Paul continues and describes how  Sodom and Gomorrah were completely destroyed in judgment. This quotation from Isaiah shows that as bad as Judah’s state was because of their sin, it could have been worse. It was only by the mercy of God that they survived at all. Sodom and Gomorrah were both totally destroyed, with not even a very small remnant to carry on. Even in the midst of judgment, God showed His mercy to Judah. “And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.” God is faithful, that’s the message Paul continues to drive home as he gives us lesson and lesson from history.

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