Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 9:1-33 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: As we’ve journeyed through Romans, we have discovered a theme that Paul has woven through the book. Jesus’ love knows no bounds. Paul has placed his personal thoughts, journey, and struggles within this letter to the Romans. He pulls in the story of God’s promise to Abraham—that He would give him and Sarah a son—that he would be made a father of many nations.
In Verse 8, Paul tells us, “This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.”
When God promised Abraham and Sarah a son, it was difficult for them to believe this concept. They thought their door of opportunity was long closed. Sarah believed that it wasn’t her genes that mattered, but rather Abraham’s. That is why she took it upon herself to arrange for her handmaid be part of the plan to give a child to Abraham—who had been promised by God to be the father of many. The promise didn’t seem to be enough for Sarah. Abraham must have felt the same way, because he decided to go along with her plan.
I feel like we do that a lot in the little moments of our lives. God has promised us so much and yet we find it hard to trust Him. To not only hear and remember our Words to Remember (Romans 9:14), but to understand them. To understand that God is the most just. That He is always seeing the entirety of the picture when we can only see a small, zoomed-in snippet of a beautiful masterpiece. God was not only giving Abraham and Sarah a physical child, but He was giving them the opportunity to trust. God gave them the opportunity to grow their relationship with Him. He had a master plan that involved Abraham and Sarah having Isaac, but within that master plan He also had a lot of little plans. And He has plans for growing closer to you in the situations that arise throughout your life.
As you think of the big journey you are on and the promises God has made to you, think of the small ways He has worked to grow closer to you through all kinds of moments. I think of Jesus while He was on this earth and how He lived His life. Jesus was tasked to carry about the greatest plan ever: to die on the cross and come to life again. But no moment was too small for Him. He took time with people and He took time for the little questions, thoughts, and situations people brought to Him. He cared for empty stomachs, grieving families, arguing disciples. Nothing was too small for Jesus. Jesus saw people as children of the promise. He saw both the big promise He would fulfill and the small promises He could fulfil in the time leading up to the cross.
Recalibrate: What is a promise you see God working through in your life?
Respond: Ask God for help in seeing more of the bigger picture.
Research: What were the repercussions of Abraham and Sarah’s disbelief in God’s promise to them?
Remember: “Is God unjust? Certainly not!” (Romans 9:14, KNT).
Jessyka Albert has been associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church since 2016. She grew up in Washington State, graduated from Union College, and is engaged to Kiefer Dooley, Rocky Mountain Conference associate youth director. Pastor Jessyka has a particular passion for children and youth, and is instrumental in creating amazing faith experiences for these groups.
Play a game of “Guess What Is in the Bag.” Using paper bags or bags that you can’t see through, fill the bags with goodies or junk so that only you know what is on the inside. Let your little one pick through and explore each bag to see what is inside. God knows what is inside each of us.
Play a game of “Guess What Is in the Bag.” Using paper bags or bags that you can’t see through fill the bags with goodies or junk so that only you know what is on the inside. See if your family or friends can guess which bags to keep and which ones to throw away only by looking at them. God explains to Moses, in Verses 15-18, how He has mercy and compassion on people. God knows what is on the inside of each of us; that is what God does.
Have you ever thought that God was unjust? As I am writing this, it is 11:31 p.m., and I have just spent the whole day at the hospital. Why, you may wonder? Because a friend accidentally ran over his 14-month-old baby and killed him. As I sat next to my friend today at the hospital, he kept asking the question, “Why?” I didn’t try to answer it. How could I? I don’t know why this happened! Yet all afternoon, one thing kept going through my mind: “The enemy has done this.” At times I think we are too quick to blame things on God. On Sabbath afternoon, a group of students asked me the question, “Why does God let bad things happen to us?” They kept implying that all bad things come from God. As I sit in my favorite chair writing this, weary from a day I wish had never happened, I can’t help but feel the burden to remind you right now that nothing bad comes from God. God is not an unjust God who inflicts pain on His children. God is a God of love. He loves you intimately. I don’t know what you have seen in your life. Today, if you have been angry with God about something that has happened, know that Jesus is with you. He is crying with you, sad with you, upset with you, and holding you. “Is God unjust, Certainly not!”