Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 30 & Romans 9:1-29
How refreshing after so many chapters to finally turn the page and read Jeremiah’s encouraging message from God to the remnant of his people; the exiles who would return from Babylon.
‘The days are coming’, declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,’ says the Lord. Jeremiah 30:3
Such hope as this picture of restoration is painted for a people who would be delivered out of exile, back into the covenant relationship. God dwelling with his people in the land he had given to them. Why? Because God chose to do so.
“So you will be my people, and I will be your God.” See, the storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a driving wind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand this. Jeremiah 30:22-24
This is exactly the same message of hope and encouragement to listen only to the true prophet, we read about earlier in Chapter 23:16-20
Understanding the sovereignty of God can certainly be difficult at times but Paul, in our second reading today, is very clear and passionate as he explains what it means to belong to God’s family.
It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended for Israel are Israel ….. in other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abrahams offspring. Romans 9:6 & 8.
And that means you and me. We are the children of this promise which was made to Abram when God called him all the way back in Genesis 12.
In the same way God chose the place and time and people who would be restored back into relationship out of exile, so Paul’s message to the Christians in Rome has the same resounding truth and depth for us today.
It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy ….. God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy and he hardens whom he wants to harden. Romans 9:16 & 18
Ouch! From a human perspective, this certainly seems unfair, but again, God’s election is a mystery and sometimes there can be no logical explanation for his actions and decisions. Given the majesty and sovereignty of God, Paul’s question certainly makes one stop short.
‘But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?’ Romans 9:20
And then Paul asks, ‘what if God did what he did to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory?’ Romans 9:23
So what difference does this make to how I live my life?
I can live in the assurance that God will use all things for his glory! ALL things …
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
[Originally posted on 30/10/2015 by Karen Dixon.]