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 English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Paul has taken us on a long, confusing journey through Chapter 9. I love how he wraps it up by including scriptures from Hosea and Isaiah. Paul quotes Hosea, saying:
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people’ and her who was not beloved, I will call ‘beloved.’ And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” (Romans 9:25-26)
This was unbelievable to those who have been given the promise of their family line. They were the sons of God. They were the chosen people. The people God had made promises with. The people whom God taught to worship. The people God loved. And now all these people who were on the outskirts are becoming beloved? They’re becoming children of God? But those people didn’t carry all the family baggage that Israel had to carry. They didn’t endure and keep the law like Israel did. They believed, and they were adopted into the family of God.
It can be hard to share something with someone if you feel you have worked so hard for it and they haven’t. There are a few mountains in Colorado that you can either climb or drive up. It’s like the Israelites climbed up this mountain for hours, fighting the elements and altitude sickness while the Gentiles just drove up to the summit and experienced the beautiful view without any of the hard work.
There are some people who are so focused on the hike itself that they never enjoy the view. For them, the view is there, but it’s not the important part. Jesus is the view at the end of the journey. The most beautiful view. But we don’t want others to have it unless they have suffered through the climb like we have. Sometimes we find it hard to share the goodness of Jesus with people because we feel like they must carry the same family baggage that we have had to carry. Paul is telling us that it is not about what the Israelites thought was important about them. What was important was Jesus. It was not all the rules and the laws, but it was the fulfillment of the law in Jesus. It is the belief in Him that does not put us to shame. This love, this good news, this Jesus is for all people. This is true for those who were part of God’s chosen people from the beginning and also for those who have chosen God.
Recalibrate: Has it ever been hard for you to give to someone you considered undeserving?
Respond: Ask God for a heart of unconditional love.
Research: Read the book of Hosea to see how God’s love works with those who we might see as unworthy.
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.
Place the food you would love your child to love on a plate. It may be a selection of fruits and vegetables and snacks that you would dearly love them to eat. Most likely some will end up on the floor, some will end up squished, some may end up in their mouth, and, hopefully, some will end up in their tummies. The Israelites, however, were not children. And even though God sent his Son whom He wanted them to dearly love, they chose not to love Him. Look at all the blessings God has laid out before you and your little one today and be thankful.
Romans Chapter 9 in the NIV has three headings. Paul’s Anguish Over Israel, God’s Sovereign Choice, and Israel’s Unbelief. Most of Israel did not believe that Jesus was God’s Son even though all throughout their lives God sent messengers to tell them He was coming. The Israelites had the inside scoop but they chose to love their way of doing things instead of loving God. God can see why we do what we do and this is what made Paul sad because He wanted so badly for his people to love God like God loved them.
Did you get to choose your parents? Of course not! Most likely you ended up with them. Either they chose you through adoption or you live with your birth parents. Either way, there was really no choosing on your end. (There are exceptions!) This is the same with God. God is our Heavenly Father. He chose us. Now, you can choose to not live with Him. You can shun Him, push Him away, and live your own life. But God will always be your Father and you will always be His child. Why? Because He made it that way. God is wild about you. He so loves you! He has chosen you. No matter what you do, He will always love you. How does it make you feel that you are a child of God? How does it feel to know that God chose you? What does it say about God’s love that He will never leave you because He has decided to be your father forever?