The First 15

Friday July 23, 2021

by Don Scott

Opening Prayer

“Lord, help me to pause, help me to focus, help me to receive your word in a way that makes an impact on my day. Amen”

Scripture Reading

Romans 9:6-18

God’s Sovereign Choice

It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”

Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.


This scripture has always puzzled me. At first reading it seems to say that God makes people do evil or that we are born to a certain fate with no control. Pharaoh had no choice or Esau was predestined to be the bad brother according to Paul. As I read this it seemed to make no sense. To myself I thought, “Don’t we have a choice?”

Then it came to me. I was missing the point. God is in control. God’s will shall be done. God’s purpose will win out. We may not understand why Pharoah resisted or Esau was cheated, but we aren’t God. We can look at the outcome and realize God accomplished God’s will.

We can see that it wasn’t Pharoah’s or Esau’s actions that carried the day, but God’s. We are acceptable, not because of what we do, but by what God has done and is doing in our lives and our world.

So, are there questions you might have for God?
What in this crazy world doesn’t make sense to you?

Closing Prayer

Dear God,
Help us not to seek answers today, but you. Reveal yourself to us in all situations, even when we don’t understand. Amen.

The First 15

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