Romans 9:17-23 God will destroy evil when believers are ready to take up divine authority to become vessels of honour

Romans 9:17-23  God will destroy evil when believers are ready to take up divine authority to become vessels of honour

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?

What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.

BACKGROUND

God’s choice of Jacob is justified because in His eyes Jacob is more righteous than Esau. Thus, God had mercy on Jacob and exalted Him on the world’s stage. Esau inherited a piece of the promised land from his father Isaac, but his reign was earthly and temporal. Jacob inherited no land from Isaac, but God gave him His eternal kingdom. God appraises the hearts of men and exalts the righteous by making them vessels of honour. Through them, God tramples the vessels of wrath to save the vessels of mercy. Let us align our hearts towards God so that we may become vessels of honour. Today’s devotion teaches us: God will destroy evil when believers are ready to take up divine authority to become vessels of honour.

OBSERVATION

So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

God raised up Pharaoh and hardened him so that he may be instrumental in revealing God’s power to the world. The Egyptians were oppressing the Israelites and using them as slaves. When Moses came and asked for the release of the Israelites, God hardened the Pharaoh’s heart against releasing them. That resulted in a deluge of cosmic plagues that decimated Egypt. After the Pharaoh was forced to release the Israelites, God again hardened Pharaoh’s heart. This time, the Pharaoh sent his army to pursue them only to be drowned in the Red Sea. Because of Pharaoh’s intransigence, God was exalted in full view of the nations. So much so the inhabitants of Jericho shuddered at the news of what had happened at the Red Sea (see Joshua 2:8-11). When God has mercy, He exalts. But when God hardens, He debases.

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”

God is sovereign, for He alone holds the power to exalt and to debase whoever He desires. That said, God does not make sudden decisions on impulse with no particular reason. For God is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds (Psalm 146:17). And nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and we are all accountable to Him (see Hebrews 4:13). Therefore, God exalts and debases in accordance to His righteous appraisal of each person. Indeed, God is the sovereign Potter, having absolute right over the clay to do as He pleases. From one lump of clay He exercises mercy to create a vessel for honourable use. Such will become a blessing to the world while leaving a lasting legacy. And from another lump He hardens to create a vessel for common use. Such will eventually waste away into oblivion.

What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

When Egypt oppressed the Israelites, God patiently endured their evil deeds for 400 years. God did not destroy them immediately because He waited for the right time, for Moses to reign over them. Indeed, He allowed the vessels of wrath (evil) to flourish for a brief moment only to be overcome by the vessels of honour (the righteous). This is so that the righteous, through their victory may share in God’s glory. God will destroy evil at the right time, when believers are ready to take up divine authority.

TRUTH

Great legacies are unequivocally created and established by the righteous at heart.

On the flip side, great legacies are destroyed by unrighteous leaders. Apart from God, no one can by his own schemes and abilities leave behind an enduring legacy. Some people supposed by their ingenuity and manipulation make their companies and nations great. No matter how capable a man is, God will at the critical moment harden and force a foolish decision to cripple him forever. Hence, we can safely say that unless God has mercy, no one can succeed. God will act mercifully to exalt the righteous while hardening the unrighteous to debase them. In no uncertain terms, God will prevent the unrighteous from prospering. He will make the way of death seem right to them. Proverbs 14:11-12 sums it up,

The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
But the tent of the upright will flourish.
There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death. – Proverbs 14:11-12

Therefore, knowing that it is God who exercises mercy, who hardens whom He desires, we must make it our prerogative to align our hearts to God. It is unequivocally our heart that dictates our destiny, not our intelligence or skills.

Our roles on the world’s stage are predetermined by the motives and intents of our hearts.

If God exercises mercy and hardens whom He desires, He also predetermines what roles we play on the world’s stage. Paul lists four kinds of vessels or roles. Vessels for honourable use signify roles that establish glorious legacies. Vessels for common use signify roles that are inconsequential to God’s future plans. Such will be forgotten and fade into oblivion. Vessels of wrath signify those who will be trampled upon by God and His people. Vessels of mercy signify those who will receive God’s reward and glory.

Indeed, according to God’s foreknowledge and assessment of each person’s heart, He will unilaterally predetermine the kind of vessels each become. No matter what we do, there is no escaping of God’s predestination. Hence, Paul says, “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” (See Romans 9:16).

Having said that, is there anything we can do to obtain mercy from God? Yes, indeed! Knowing God is opposed to the proud while giving grace to the humble (see James 4:6), let us align our hearts towards Him.

God will destroy evil when believers are ready to take up divine authority to become vessels of honour.

God uses the vessels of honour to trample upon the vessels of wrath so that the vessels of mercy may be saved. However, God allowed the vessels of wrath to flourish for a time until the vessels of honour are ready to rise up. Indeed, God does not come into direct contact with men. But He sends His vessels of honour with divine authority to save them. That said, if the vessels of honour delay in heeding God’s call, humanity at large will continue to suffer. Regrettably, there are so many who need healing, but few avail themselves to be discipled as vessels of honour. The gospel of Matthew records,

Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” – Matthew 9:35-38

Some churches draw large crowds by glibly promising healing and prosperity for all who come to their meetings. However, many became disappointed because they did not receive the miracle that was promised to them. It appears that these churches are over-promising but under-delivering. They instruct their flock to simply call out the name of Jesus only to be met with silence. Although they are preaching the gospel but they are not fulfilling the work of the gospel. These churches will not invest time and resources into discipling believers for the harvest simply because that will not bring in the crowds fast enough.

Jesus painstakingly discipled the twelve during a span of three years. Thereafter, He sent them out to preach the gospel by healing the sick and casting out demons. Why did Jesus use such a laborious strategy to evangelise the world? It is only by raising disciples and sending them out into the world can people experience true healing. The power of the gospel is not embodied in an eloquent message but in faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. That is why the Word became flesh to dwell among men (see John 1:14). Otherwise, the world cannot experience the healing and glory of God. God allowed evil to flourish for a time until believers are willing to be discipled to take up divine authority. Otherwise evil will continue to plunge humanity into the darkness.

APPLICATION

Ask God to reveal His calling and mission to you so that you may become His vessels of honour. As you are faithful in obeying His directives on a daily basis, He will reveal more of His plans to you.

Are you being properly discipled by anointed men and women? Ask God to arrange for you an appropriate mentor of His choice. For God reserves His best teachers for His best students.

Dear Lord, I thank you for making me a vessel of honour. Arrange for me a teacher of your choice. Direct my footsteps so that I may rise up to help bring salvation into the world. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.


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