14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience(I) vessels of wrath(J) prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known(K) the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— Romans 9:14-23
God’s prerogative is exactly that- His prerogative. Sometimes as people, whose natural inclination it is to be selfish, we mistakenly think that everything is about us. And that kind of thinking can make us somewhat arrogant…and wrong. We begin to misunderstand our place and forget who we are. We are the clay, the pot and not the potter. We live in a great country. We have freedoms that are greater than any other country. Those freedoms came at a price, to the people who fought for them, to the people who have and still defend them. Those freedoms were ultimately given by God for us. And I consider the greatest benefit to be the freedom to worship and express my faith publically without fear of harm or recrimination. There are many who are not afforded the same freedom. But to our detriment, these freedoms have made us lazy, complacent and ungrateful. We now have a sense of entitlement that extends far beyond the freedoms afforded to us. Mistakenly we have extended our entitlement towards God. We have allowed ourselves to consider ourselves equal with God.
We live in a great country. We have freedoms that are greater than any other country. Those freedoms came at a price, to the people who fought for them, to the people who have and still defend them. Those freedoms were ultimately given by God for us. And I consider the greatest benefit to be the freedom to worship and express my faith publically without fear of harm or recrimination. There are many who are not afforded the same freedom. But to our detriment, these freedoms have made us lazy, complacent and ungrateful. We now have a sense of entitlement that extends far beyond the freedoms afforded to us. Mistakenly we have extended our entitlement towards God. We have allowed ourselves to consider ourselves equal with God.We will flatly deny this when pressed. Our words will be a mock humility and insincere reverence. And in the best we reverence. And in the best cases, we may be able to truthfully claim ignorance to our true selves but it is not a just excuse. God’s prerogative is God’s prerogative. We often cry out at God when we do not understand. We misquote, misshape and pervert His words claiming to know better than He what He meant to say. We cry foul and question His actions. If it does not make sense, if it is not to our liking or to our will we say that it cannot be of God. We take our designs and dreams and press them into something we can claim is His will when in reality it is anything but. We ignore page after page of scripture in order to create an image of God we can be comfortable with. In The Mortification of Sin, John Owen writes, “When we consider the very being of God, we find ourselves so far from the true knowledge of it that we cannot come up with the right words and expressions. As we seek to meditate in our minds and frame thought about God as we do about other objects of thinking, we fall so far short that we make an idol in our mind and worship a god of our own making, and not the true God that has made us.”
All of this amounts to our belief that it is our place to question and judge God. When we will not bring ourselves to the place where we trust Him and are humbly submitted to Him, we will rebel and question Him. We are the clay and the clay does not rebel against the potter. The clay molds into the shape of the potter’s choosing. The clay yields and submits to the vision of the potter. We should resemble the clay. Paul says,”20But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?” Who are we to question the ways of the creator of all things? Who are we to say things like unfair, unjust and wrong when faced with the ways of God? Who are we to demand anything of Him who owes us nothing but death? Who are we to look upon Him with anything but fear, trembling, humility and thankfulness?
It is understandable that we may not understand. And it is understandable that our very sinful nature will rebel at the reshaping to His will. It is understandable that we may be disquieted with His ways while growing in our faith and learning to submit to Him. However, it is not acceptable to allow ourselves to continue on in the blasphemous arrogance that we should question Him.
It is really a revealing of our true wickedness. None of us are good and this is evidence of that fact. It is arrogance and pride that does not see justice and deserving in our lives. That God treats us in any way other than what we deserve should bring gratefulness. Yet we see grace and mercy as a right, an expectation and not a gift. We see God as wrong if He does anything that we do not agree with. We say, “Surely a loving and just God would not…” as if God is somehow bound by our ideas of fairness and unilateral action. What is it to us that He does whatever He chooses? He is God and we are to submit, obey, love and serve Him no matter the outcomes of our lives. It is not up to us to dictate the terms on anything concerning God. We are but a speck compared to Him. And despite our wickedness, He continues to love us. This fact says everything about Him and nothing about us. And it is that thought that can rid us of the arrogance that is in us.