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.”
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
What is striking to me in this passage is Paul’s comment about God bearing with patience those who are under His wrath for the sake of those to whom He wishes to show mercy. In other words, God is putting up with some people for the sake of others, in the way that He put up with Pharaoh for so long in Egypt, in order to bless His people with the miraculous Exodus.
On the one hand this is a hard concept because it could be taken to mean that God arbitrarily condemns some people as part of carrying out his plan. I wouldn’t take it that way. I would look at the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, or anyone else’s for that matter, as being a temporary matter for the sake of God’s plan at that time. God still wants all to come to repentance and be saved (1 Timothy 2:4, John 3:16).
But even those who reject God can’t escape His sovereignty. Those who oppose His mission in the world today and are persecuting Christians cannot prevent their evil from being used for good by God.
I met yesterday with a representative of Mission India. We discussed the current state of the church in India and how the upcoming elections are being watched closely by the Christians because of the persecution under the current government. But still God’s work is being done, and even those who actively oppose His mission cannot prevent Him from ultimately using it for good.
It’s an answer that doesn’t completely satisfy because I long for justice now. But it’s an answer that calls for faith – faith that God is at work, and faith that the God of justice will bring about his perfect justice and righteousness in eternity.
So my prayer is for faith to trust that God is at work despite the evil being done upon His children. I am praying for those who are being persecuted around the world today, for their safety, faithfulness, and their witness. And I am praying for the “objects of his wrath,” that ultimately they would be brought to repentance – and if not, to justice.
What is the Word leading you to pray about today?
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 The New International Version. (2011). (Ro 9:22–33). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.