Romans 9:17


Friday, 23 August 2013

For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Romans 9:17

Once again, Paul turns directly to the Scriptures (Exodus 9:16) to justify the statements he is making. “For” is looking back on the previous thought of God showing mercy on whom He will show mercy apart from our will or work. And so he says, “For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh…”

He goes to the exodus account, one of the most noted in Scripture, and one which shows the power of God and the selection of Israel as His people. They are called the “least of all peoples” in Deuteronomy 7:7 indicating their size and strength, and yet they were saved from the massive powerhouse of the nations, Egypt.

And so, to demonstrate His power in effecting His purposes, He selected this small group of people on whom to lavish His care and affection. By doing so He would be glorified. To show that He is able to accomplish even the unimaginable, He raised up Pharaoh to be a part of this plan. As the account says, “For this purpose I have raised you up…” The intent is, “By my sovereign choice and for my own reasons, you as a leader of this great and powerful nation were placed, established, and carried to this moment.”

The Greek word Paul uses for “raised up” is exēgeira. It is a word used only twice in the New Testament and so the context must be considered from those two passages. The second instance is in 1 Corinthians 6:14 –

“And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.”

In both instances, it is showing God’s active role in the direction of people. The word means to “raise out completely” and it emphasizes its end-impact on the person God raises. In other words, God has raised up Pharaoh, has sustained him throughout his life, and has directed the events of his life to mold him in the exact way so that when his moment of destiny with the approaching exodus comes, he will respond in the manner which will bring God the anticipated glory for what occurs – “that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”

Every particular of the Pharaoh, as well as every particular of Egypt, was determined by God for the moment. The amount of soldiers, for example, was pre-ordained. A smaller force may have led him to choose a different path. Every detail was orchestrated to bring Pharaoh to make the decisions that he made. But…. he made them. God directed the events, but the choices were still made by the man. God in no way determined the evil choices Pharaoh made, but the choices came as a result of his makeup.

This is how such events work – both for “good and for evil” as was noted in the explanation of the twins, Jacob and Esau. And this is how the events work for us as well. We are a product of the things which make us the people we are, all selected by God to mold and form us. And yet, we are granted free will to choose the path we take. Just because God knows what those choices will be in no way changes the fact that we make them.

Life application: In the end, calling on Jesus is a choice of the will. When the choice is made, He seals us with the Spirit and sets us on a new and wonderful course. This course will last for eternity in His presence. Such is the grace and mercy of God.

Lord, I just love You. Amen.

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