Let’s see how we fit in God’s master plan.
17 For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.” 18 So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.
19 Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?”
20 No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? 22 In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. 23 He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. 24 And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles.
Paul goes by the Word.
In verse 17, we see Paul says “for the Scriptures say…” Let’s follow Paul and go to the Scriptures. We need to know the Word and get it deep within us so that we know truth from untruth. So that we can test those things that come along against the Word. Paul knew the Word and he knew how to use it. In this verse, Paul is referring to the Pharah of Egypt and the plagues that came against the Egyptians because the Pharaoh would not release the Israelites from captivity. News spread throughout the earth about “the God of the Israelites” and His great power. God used Pharaoh. This may sound harsh but we cannot understand God’s ways. His very Word tells us that His thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God used Pharaoh to show the world His Sovereignty.
So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen (verse 18). One thing we need to keep in mind in reading these verses is that God knows beginning and the end. To Him time is not the same as it is to us. He doesn’t live by the constraints of time. He GAVE us time!
Why does He harden hearts of some? My thoughts on this are that God knows who will choose to accept Him and who will choose to reject Him. He knows our choices before we are ever created because He knows beginning and end. Therefore, He will use those who choose to reject Him and harden their hearts. Please understand these are my own thoughts. This is one of those areas in Scripture that we have to know we will never understand fully. And that’s okay. He will reveal things to us as we are capable of understanding. Other things will remain hidden.
Here is a quote I found recently: “Men are not lost because they are hardened, they are hardened because they are lost.”
Verse 19 further shows us that God is Sovereign and we have to respect that He knows ALL. We know a small, teeny little piece of what God knows. Our knowledge would be but a speck of sand compared to His knowledge. He is Knowledge. How can we question His ways? How can we question the One who created us?
The sooner we accept who we are – who He made us to be – the sooner we’ll understand that we don’t always have to understand. God is Sovereign. It is His will do anything that He chooses. But God is merciful too. He loves us and He chooses us. And He will use us to advance His kingdom if we open ourselves up to Him fully.
Don’t be afraid.
The words “do not fear” appear in the Word of God 365 times. I think this is intentional on His part so that there is an instance of these words for each day of the year. Do not fear being used by God. Do you fear your salvation? He made it so easy for us. Believe. That’s it. One Word. Believe. He didn’t tell us that we have to climb the highest mountain in the world to be saved. He didn’t say that we have to do the impossible to be saved. He made it super easy. Believe. So why do we think that if He calls us to help Him advance His kingdom that it would be any more difficult. Let me tell you from experience.
When He calls you, you are already equipped and ready to step into action.
Go and don’t look back. Step into your calling with both feet and let Him guide. You’ll be amazed at how He will use you when you just open up and say “Here I am, Lord. Use me.” We each have talents and gifts that are uniquely ours. In the Body of Christ, no one has the talents and gifts of another. What I’m trying to say is there is no other person ever who will have the talents, gifts and calling that you have. Step into it. I can’t encourage you enough. When you step into your God-given destiny, your life will never be the same. Fear not! The Potter made each of us with a specific purpose. And we will glorify the Potter when we are used for that specific purpose.
We are vessels of God’s mercy.
Not one of us in the Body of Christ deserve to be there but because of His mercy, there we are! Because of His great mercy for us, we are saved. Not because of any works that we did or anything that we could ever do because it is not about us. It is about Jesus Christ and His love. Not our love for Him but His love for us. We can NEVER love Him enough. We will always come up short like Peter did when he denied knowing Christ 3 times. Our love is a mere shadow of what love is. Love is God. God is love. And God pours His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).
Do you see how merciful He is?
We are truly incapable of taking care of ourselves without Him. We are utterly helpless and that’s not a bad place to be. It shows us our great need for a Savior. The Word above goes on to tell us that we are among those whom He selected – both from the Jews and from the Gentiles (verse 24). We are chosen; therefore, we are special.
It was always God’s plan to include us Gentiles. Let’s look at a couple verses in Isaiah:
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
In the Old Testament, God had us on His mind. He knew He was going to call out the nations to be a people for His name. What a special place we’ve been given as a Bride for His Son.
Stay in the Light and the Love Always,