Daily Readings – Leviticus 18-20, Psalm 35, Romans 9
What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
Full transparency, this is a passage that I struggle with. I desperately want to take on the mindset of Paul and embrace that God is the master potter and he has the right to do with a lump of clay what he wishes. I badly want to simply accept that God has a master plan much bigger than I can ever conceive and that occasionally he needs to raise up a Pharaoh for the purpose of showing his glory.
But I struggle.
I was tempted to simply throw Romans 9 into the daily readings for yesterday knowing I was going to write about Psalm 34. Then I could skip writing about it! I honestly didn’t have the emotional energy to really dig in and contemplate the full depth of this section in Romans.
I frequently catch myself falling into a common trap we see today in our Western World, where I would rather live in a world where bad things don’t have to happen for God to get the attention of his people. I want to create God in my own image instead of remembering that I was created in his. I want to say things to myself and to others along the lines of, “Well, a loving God would…” and then philosophize about how I would do things if I were God and project those items onto my heavenly father.
Then I remember that God loved us so much that he sent his only son to pay the ultimate price on my behalf. I remember that he loves me so much that, even though he has watched me fall short over and over and over again, he still welcomes me back as a loving father with arms wide open. He still showers me with blessings even when I have been a disobedient son. He loves us more than we ever deserve or could ever earn.
When I recalibrate in this way and take a step back, it is so much easier to trust God with his macro plan and not question every single micro detail. My human nature wants to fully understand every single thing that happens in life and ask God, “Why did it have to be done that way?” I am often so concerned with watching the stone hit the surface of the pond that I miss the ripple effect that goes cascading outwards.
It is so easy to miss the big picture.
And the truth is, Paul is right. God has infinite wisdom. Compared to God, I am a mere lump of clay.
This doesn’t mean that we should never try to dig in deeper and understand God better. God welcomes that. Throughout Psalms we see David going through constant ups and downs. We see him question God, frustrated with God, give praise to God, exalt God, and everything in between. And God called David a man after his own heart.
Our God is big enough to handle our frustrations, hurts, and anger. He wants a fully authentic relationship with us.
Don’t be afraid to dig in. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions. Don’t skip over that passage you would rather not contemplate. There is beauty in depth. There is beauty in wrestling with God’s truth. There is beauty in coming to our father in Heaven and saying, “God, I don’t understand…but I want to.”
God wants all of us. Not simply the sanitized version. Today I will give it to him.
Thought to ponder
What questions have I avoided digging into and been unwilling to turn to God with?
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