Romans–Passionate Christian Theology
Take time to read the last half of chapter nine in a quiet place where You can listen to God speak to your heart and mind as this message penetrates your soul. There is more than one nugget of Truth here, but for the sake of time this morning and because I can only handle one thought at a time, let’s think about our “projects” at hand.
Do you find that in the midst of a grand project, that focus on why you are doing it gets lost in the busyness of “pulling it off”? The “making it happen” overwhelms you and you begin to listen to all the folks around you with their ideas of what you should be doing. Maybe you are the demanding one who calls the shots, makes all the rules and forces it to happen. Is it your way or the highway? Just stop. Bow down to the One who invited you to join HIM in HIS work in the first place. For a moment before you are caught up in the madness, ask God, “what do YOU want?”. Did you invite me or am I inviting You, Heavenly Father, to this work?
This can be dangerous territory to navigate in our life’s journey. Who is following? Who is leading? Paul explains life on God’s terms once again. We all have sinned and fall short in this part of our journey. These words given in passionate love and grace, wisdom and insight, must be deeply ingrained in us as they guide our thoughts and behavior.
Romans 9, The Message
20-33 Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, “Why did you shape me like this?” Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right? Either or both happens to Jews, but it also happens to the other people. Hosea put it well:
I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies;
I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved.
In the place where they yelled out, “You’re nobody!”
they’re calling you “God’s living children.”
Isaiah maintained this same emphasis:
If each grain of sand on the seashore were numbered
and the sum labeled “chosen of God,”
They’d be numbers still, not names;
salvation comes by personal selection.
God doesn’t count us; he calls us by name.
Arithmetic is not his focus.
Isaiah had looked ahead and spoken the truth:
If our powerful God
had not provided us a legacy of living children,
We would have ended up like ghost towns,
like Sodom and Gomorrah.
How can we sum this up? All those people who didn’t seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. Isaiah (again!) gives us the metaphor for pulling this together:
Careful! I’ve put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion,
a stone you can’t get around.
But the stone is me! If you’re looking for me,
you’ll find me on the way, not in the way.
What do we learn? Tons!
–Trust God, but don’t take over His work.
–It God’s work, not yours.
–God invites us to HIS work, we don’t take over.
–God makes the plays and calls the shots, we don’t. We follow.
–Don’t miss God in the middle of what He has invited you to be a part of on at this particular time in your journey.
–Seek God, you will find Him, on the way, not in the way.
–He is God and we are not.
–He knows us by name! Never take that for granted.
–He loves making nobodies into somebodies to accomplish His will and purpose, no matter what that might be.
–Don’t just read and talk about it, be ready to join Him when he calls.
Dear Heavenly Father, Make Your desires my desires for this day and every day. I’m Yours, Lord. I’ll be looking for You…on the way. In Jesus Name, Amen