Romans 9 is a challenging chapter as Paul turns a corner in his teaching and addresses what we can only assume were questions he’d heard or anticipated regarding the fate of the Jews as God’s chosen people, and the greater purpose in this new era of God’s dealing with man through Christ Jesus.
In these devos we’ll seek to further draw out the natural questions and move toward some conclusions.
Monday- Anguish for Israel- READ- Romans 9:1–5
Paul here expresses great emotional desire to see his people “get it” regarding Jesus, the Messiah (a claim he makes right within his intro to this chapter in verse 5). Israel’s issue is the classic inability to see the forest for all of the trees. Have you at all missed Jesus as the soul and center of God’s desire for relationship with you in the midst of religious observance?
Tuesday- Children of Promise- READ- Romans 9:6–13
Paul’s point. Ethnic Jews are not automatically “in”, only those who’ve believed. (It’s always been about faith, see verse 32 & ch.4). Then we have this fascinating statement in vs.13. which is better said, “Esau I rejected”. The common thread of rejection, as we’ll see, is in fact, unbelief. How is this the greatest warning against false religion? Is your confidence in God’s love rooted in anything other than belief in Jesus?
Wednesday- Mercy?- READ- Romans 9:14–18
How is God’s mercy thematic in a passage that discusses using Pharaoh for the purpose of displaying His Glory by the hardening of his heart? How is unbelief still at the root of even Pharaoh’s hardening (see Ex.7:10–14)? Use this occasion to seek a tender heart and a proper attitude of reverence and awe before God.
Thursday- The Potter’s Will- READ- Romans 9:19–21
Isaiah too used the picture of a divine Potter in ch.29:16 & 45:9. Remember that the context is the irreverent questioning of God’s plan of salvation, and Israel’s role in that plan. Paul is not dismissing the nature of any questioning of God, but responding to that attitude (credit NIV study notes). Why is it important to understand that God is not beholden to us?
Friday- Sovereign Purpose- READ- Romans 9:22–26
Now Paul reveals the real heart of the matter to which he is gently leading the questioning Jew. God’s desire is to save even the Gentiles- and Israel’s role is critical to that end. “I will call them my people who are not my people”. Who is it that is “beyond saving” in your valuation, and how does this chapter blow that away? Pray for a right heart regarding God’s sovereignty and choice in redeeming all people!
Saturday- Remnant- READ- Romans 9:27–29
Again with unbelief in view, how sad that Israel, throughout the ages, will always only have a believing remnant. How have many churches today similarly degraded to worthless religion? How is a commitment to sound biblical doctrine, and Christ and His Cross at the center, an antidote to this pronouncement being about us? Paul warned Timothy- “Watch your life and doctrine (teaching) closely!” How are you pursuing this in our own life- what is your commitment to Bible study and growing as a Christian?
Sunday-Unbelief- READ- Romans 9:30–33
Israel’s obedience and trust was in the law to justify them, but this is the same law that should have led them to Christ, (see Galatians 3:23–25). As we prepare to worship together today, let’s allow the words of the songs we sing, and the message that we hear to direct our hearts and our obedience to Christ, that He might be our cornerstone and not a stumbling block!