This chapter really spoke to me, so I read it over and over again. I thought our study would would go through the whole chapter, but I found myself sitting in the sections, reading multiple versions (always going back to The Message), and following many rabbit trails that linked to these verses in my brain. I don’t want to rush through Romans 9.
It’s been hard to figure out how to chart information, because, for me, the verses have so many internal hooks and raise so many questions, personal experiences, and AMENS!
My INFORMATION CHARTS will reflect the major question that we all need to ask ourselves: WHO IS GOD TO ME?
1-5 At the same time, you need to know that I carry with me at all times a huge sorrow. It’s an enormous pain deep within me, and I’m never free of it. I’m not exaggerating—Christ and the Holy Spirit are my witnesses. It’s the Israelites . . . If there were any way I could be cursed by the Messiah so they could be blessed by him, I’d do it in a minute. They’re my family. I grew up with them. They had everything going for them—family, glory, covenants, revelation, worship, promises, to say nothing of being the race that produced the Messiah, the Christ, who is God over everything, always. Oh, yes!Romans 9:1-5, The Message
|Paul’s heart||Your heart|
|What is the greatest longing of Paul’s heart?||What is the greatest longing of your heart?|
|What would Paul be willing to give up for his “family?”||Would I make the same offer as Paul?|
Pray for them often.
6-9 Don’t suppose for a moment, though, that God’s Word has malfunctioned in some way or other. The problem goes back a long way. From the outset, not all Israelites of the flesh were Israelites of the spirit. It wasn’t Abraham’s sperm that gave identity here, but God’s promise. Remember how it was put: “Your family will be defined by Isaac”? That means that Israelite identity was never racially determined by sexual transmission, but it was God-determined by promise. Remember that promise, “When I come back next year at this time, Sarah will have a son”?Romans 9:6-10, MSG
10-13 And that’s not the only time. To Rebecca, also, a promise was made that took priority over genetics. When she became pregnant by our one-of-a-kind ancestor, Isaac, and her babies were still innocent in the womb—incapable of good or bad—she received a special assurance from God. What God did in this case made it perfectly plain that his purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but a sure thing determined by his decision, flowing steadily from his initiative. God told Rebecca, “The firstborn of your twins will take second place.” Later that was turned into a stark epigram: “I loved Jacob; I hated Esau.”
14-18 Is that grounds for complaining that God is unfair? Not so fast, please. God told Moses, “I’m in charge of mercy. I’m in charge of compassion.” Compassion doesn’t originate in our bleeding hearts or moral sweat, but in God’s mercy. The same point was made when God said to Pharaoh, “I picked you as a bit player in this drama of my salvation power.” All we’re saying is that God has the first word, initiating the action in which we play our part for good or ill.
19 Are you going to object, “So how can God blame us for anything since he’s in charge of everything? If the big decisions are already made, what say do we have in it?”
|God’s Role||Our Role|
|Has God failed to fulfill his promise? Why or why not?||Am I a part of God’s family? How? Genetics?|
|Does God depend on our choice? Who initiates the action?||How is God displaying His power in you?|
|Who’s in charge of mercy and compassion?||What do we get to choose?|
Romans 9:16, MSG
It will be hard for me to pick one message from God from these verses. I have people I love who haven’t professed faith in Jesus Christ. I’m keeping a private prayer list. And I admit to stumbling through this chapter for the first half of my life saying, “That’s not fair.” That will probably be where I will share tomorrow.
Share with me your meme, drawing, picture, or whatever you come up with as a visual. See you tomorrow.