Category: Daily Devotionals

Focal Passage: Romans 9:14-29

Romans 9:14 “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!”

We must first recognize that by asking this question, the Apostle Paul is dealing with election in this passage and not some historical heritage issue between the Jews and the Gentiles. He had just said that God chose Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau according to His sovereign choice and nothing else. The next objection he knew would come up, the same objection many have today, is that this is not fair. Therefore he asks the rhetorical question, “Is God unfair?” to which he answers resoundingly, “Of course not!” He asked the question not out of some need to have it answered but to illustrate the ludicrous nature of even asking such a question. Paul is about to remind his audience that God is God; the beginning of His nature is true justice and goodness which is something we cannot even comprehend. We have no starting point in that realm since our natures begin outside of that.       Paul is simply laying the foundation for his coming explanation: God is completely and ultimately just.

Study/Meditation: Why do you think it is so hard for humanity to agree with predestination? Read Psalm 115:3? What does this verse teach you?

*Father, You are our Maker and our Redeemer. I know that You are sovereign and holy. You are mighty and good and just. Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 9:1-13

Romans 9:13 “As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’”

One of the greatest obstacles to correctly understanding Scripture is coming to it with the sense and foundation of our own humanity.  As hard as it might seem, we cannot attribute to God our human characteristics or natures.  He is God, and in His “God-ness” He is altogether above and beyond what we can comprehend. (Isaiah 55:8-9) When Paul quotes from Malachi 1:2-3 in this verse, he does so not in the sense of human “love” and “hate.”  He does so, as much as is humanly possible, from the sense of God and His electing love.  God chose Jacob, not Esau, and as Paul made clear in the verses prior, God did so according to His choice and for nothing either in Jacob or in his circumstances.  It was God’s choice.  This verse as quoted from Malachi speaks to God’s rejection of Esau and election of Jacob, which was not the cause of Esau being “the wicked country.” (Malachi 1:4)  Instead God chose, in His mercy, to display His sovereignty by giving His unmerited love to Jacob and his people while leaving Esau to his own natural wickedness, a wickedness that is also what Jacob and the rest of us would live in were we not chosen in God’s merciful love, too.  Our Father doesn’t choose some to send to hell; everyone is headed in that direction.  Rather, in His great love and mercy, He plucks some out of this destructive path and brings them to Himself.

Study/Meditation:  Read Malachi 1:1-5.  What is the context of this quote in Romans 9:13?  What does this teach you in regards to God’s sovereign election?

*Father, thank You for plucking me out of my path to destruction and drawing me to Yourself.  You are great and merciful and kind.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 9:1-13

Romans 9:10-12 “And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call—she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’”

Isaac was the promised offspring to Abraham and Sarah, just as God had said, and now Paul moves even deeper into his explanation of God’s promise-keeping by also further proving that God’s purposes are according to His will and to no one else’s.  By using Jacob and Esau as examples, the twins born to Isaac and Rebecca, he is making three distinct points which clinch the argument of God’s sovereignty in election:  1) The boys were twins, thereby equal at birth in physicality and nature as much as is humanly possible, 2) God reversed the small distinction that did exist by having the older (Esau) serve the younger (Jacob) which went against all human law and tradition, and 3) God’s purpose was stated before they were even born.  Choosing Jacob over Esau was always God’s choice, a choice that was not dictated by man or law or chance but “in order that God’s purpose of election might continue.”  Why?  So that it would never be “because of works but because of his call.”  God will always be governed by His will and nothing else.  He is “I Am.”

Study/Meditation:  Read 2 Timothy 1:9.  What does Paul explain in this letter is the purpose of God’s election of His children?

*Father, in the weakness of my flesh, help me to accept and see You as God, the Creator and Sovereign One, in all aspects of that nature.  I love You.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 9:1-13

Romans 9:9 “(…the children of the promise are counted as offspring.)  For this is what the promise said:  ‘About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son.’”

Once again, Paul is disputing any argument that God has forsaken His plans or His promises to His people.  He has said that not all of Israel is the true Israel and not all of Abraham’s descendants are actually “children of Abraham.”  The promise from God was always according to His will, never according to man or to chance.  When Abraham and Sarah conspired to create the “promised heir” through Hagar, God instead did it miraculously and by His will through the barren Sarah thus fulfilling His promise and His plans.  Remember that this isn’t the end of Paul’s argument, only the beginning, but in every part of it we can learn something for today.  In his point about the promised child coming through Sarah we are reminded that all of God’s people and all of God’s plans are brought to completion by His will and not ours.  He is the Almighty Creator, the Holy and Omniscient One.  As Proverbs 19:21 reminds us, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

Study/Meditation:  Read Galatians 4:22-28.  What does Paul teach here in regards to the “children of the promise” as illustrated with Sarah and Hagar?  What does this teach you in regards to God’s sovereignty and your salvation?

*Father, You are awesome and mighty and sovereign.  You are greatly to be praised! Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 9:1-13

Romans 9:6-8 “But it is not as though the word of God has failed.  For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’  This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.”

Again, it is through answering the question as to whether or not God’s promises failed to Israel when they rejected Jesus that Paul will tackle the greater issues on God’s sovereignty in election.  He begins the answer by explaining why Israel’s rejection of Christ did not mean that God failed in His promises to them.  He reminds them that even in the beginning of Abraham’s line that not all of them were children of the promise; only those from Isaac were.  This symbolized from the onset that God’s plans were for His promised children, as Isaac was the promised child.  His plans were not for children made so simply by flesh alone, as with Ishmael’s descendants.  God has always had a remnant of people who He chose to be His, even in His promises to Abraham.  He never acts out of His character and He never fails.  Even in His words to Abraham He was proclaiming that He had a people, a people that would be chosen by Him, not by human inheritance or chance.

Study/Meditation:  Read the discourse between Jesus and some Pharisees in John 8:31-47.  What did He have to say about the true children of Abraham?  How is Paul reiterating these points in Romans 8:6-8?

*Father, Your ways are not my ways and Your thoughts are not my thoughts.  Help me, in my limited understanding, to see Your grace in Your sovereignty.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 9:1-13

Romans 9:4-5 “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.  To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever.  Amen.”

Ask any number of men or women in the street today who claim to be Christians why they think they are, and they’re answers may be something like:  “I go to church every Sunday.  I give to the church and volunteer in the nursery every six weeks.”  Often we mistake the evidence of our Christianity by what we do in the church or the very fact that we belong to one.  The Jews had mistaken the privileges they had enjoyed for thousands of years as testament to their inheritance of God’s kingdom.  The truth is that it is only by grace that we are saved, and that not of ourselves—that includes if and where we attend church and what we may or may not do while there. (Ephesians 2:8)  Paul’s sadness here is that the very people who knew God didn’t recognize God when He stood among them.  Their claim to Him was purely categorized in the physical, whereas, like ours, their only claim to God should have been because He chose to give to them His immeasurable grace.  Our song must always be, “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

Study/Meditation:  Attending, belonging to, and supporting a local church is most definitely biblical, but it doesn’t save us.  What is the correct view of church in regards to salvation by grace alone?

*Father, it is Your amazing grace that saved me.  Help me remember that it is nothing of me but all of You.  Amen.