9 I speak the truth in Christ. I am not lying. My mind tells me that what I say is true. It is guided by the Holy Spirit. 2 My heart is full of sorrow. My sadness never ends. 3 I am so concerned about my people, who are members of my own race. I am ready to be cursed, if that would help them. I am even willing to be separated from Christ. 4 They are the people of Israel. They have been adopted as God’s children. God’s glory belongs to them. So do the covenants. They received the law. They were taught to worship in the temple. They were given the promises. 5 The founders of our nation belong to them. Christ comes from their family line. He is God over all. May he always be praised! Amen. 6 Their condition does not mean that God’s word has failed. Not everyone in the family line of Israel really belongs to Israel. 7 Not everyone in Abraham’s family line is really his child. Not at all! Scripture says, “Your family line will continue through Isaac.” (Genesis 21:12) 8 In other words, God’s children are not just Abraham’s natural children. Instead, they are the children God promised to him. They are the ones considered to be Abraham’s children. 9 God promised, “I will return at the appointed time. Sarah will have a son.” (Genesis 18:10,14) 10 And that’s not all. Rebekah’s children had the same father. He was our father Isaac. 11 Here is what happened. Rebekah’s twins had not even been born. They hadn’t done anything good or bad yet. So they show that God’s purpose is based firmly on his free choice. 12 It was not because of anything they did but because of God’s choice. So Rebekah was told, “The older son will serve the younger one.” (Genesis 25:23) 13 It is written, “I chose Jacob instead of Esau.” (Malachi 1:2,3) 14 What should we say then? Is God unfair? Not at all! 15 He said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy. I will show love to those I love.” (Exodus 33:19) 16 So it doesn’t depend on what we want or do. It depends on God’s mercy. 17 In Scripture, God says to Pharaoh, “I had a special reason for making you king. I decided to use you to show my power. I wanted my name to become known everywhere on earth.” (Exodus 9:16) 18 So God does what he wants to do. He shows mercy to one person and makes another stubborn.
Paul is deeply concerned that his fellow countrymen have rejected Christ. He would even go so far as to separate himself from Christ so that the Jewish people would acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. Paul readily admits this is not possible.
God makes his intentions and purposes known by the promises he makes. As God’s promises come to pass we see his sovereignty at work.
God is in charge of both mercy and compassion. We can’t force his hand in these areas.
How we respond to God’s promises – his word, determines the softness of our hearts. If we continually reject or show a lack of interest in God’s purposes are hearts will eventually become hard to the things of God. The roller door comes down and we can’t see God’s ways. On the flip side, if we seek to understand, acknowledge and declare God’s promises over our lives our hearts remain soft and our vision clear.
Dear God, please help me to understand your intentions and purposes as I read your word. Help me to trust the promises you have made and keep my heart soft before you. Amen.
Written by Ainslie Woods