It’s Just Not Fair!
Sometimes life does not seem fair. Psalm 73 gives us permission to express this to God. Be honest before God today.
Read Romans 9:19–29
19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 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?’” 21 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?
22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea:
“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”
“In the very place where it was said to them,
‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”
27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:
“Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
only the remnant will be saved.
28 For the Lord will carry out
his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”
29 It is just as Isaiah said previously:
“Unless the Lord Almighty
had left us descendants,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhen have you felt unfairly treated?
Most parents have been faced with the challenge of trying to explain a decision to a child. Sometimes explanation is not possible—not because there is no rationale to it but because of factors beyond a child’s comprehension. When it comes to understanding God’s justice, sometimes we are like a clay pot trying to understand the thinking of a potter (20,21).
In the previous section (14–18), Paul has been asserting God’s sovereignty and his right to have mercy on whomever he chooses. We get fixed on issues of equality—why doesn’t God seem to treat everyone the same?—whereas Paul focuses on God’s generosity. Even in his anger God is incredibly patient (22), and his mercy goes way beyond the limits of what is reasonable. The reality is that nobody has a right to God’s mercy. Gentiles are outside the historic covenant relationship with God, and even though the Jewish people have inherited the covenant (9:4) they cannot say that they deserve God’s mercy (27,28; Matt. 3:9).
Paul has shown in chapters 1–3 that both Gentiles and Jews are in a desperate state and
deserve nothing from God (3:23). The riches of God’s glory shine in his mercy to both Jews and Gentiles (23).
Have you ever complained to God about what you don’t have? Take time to write down all of the undeserved gifts God has given you.
Thank You, Loving Father, for Your mercy and forgiveness. May I be truly grateful for what You have given me.
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