Romans 9. Grace Means We Are God’s Children.



Earlier this year, we took a journey together through the Old Testament book of  Isaiah. Paul, as a learned rabbi and the author of the letter to the church at Rome, quoted regularly from the Prophet. So, let’s take the next few weeks together to look at the New Testament book of Romans.

You can listen to this devotional here:



Romans 9

We all have blind spots. Don’t you find it ironic when you can see something about someone else’s life but they cannot? That’s how Paul feels about the people of Israel. He notes that the Jews are God’s chosen people, but they are so strict at following the Law, they are often blind to see His grace.  We all can be that way.  Paul gives a couple of Old Testament examples. Here is one about Jacob, the second-born twin of Rebecca:

“What God did in this case made it perfectly plain that his purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but a sure thing determined by his decision, flowing steadily from his initiative.” (v 12, MSG).

God’s grace and mercy are not dependent on anything WE do. He loves us. Period. Just because we are His kids.

He’s in charge of compassion and mercy. I’m thankful for that. He extends His kindness and we can trust Him. He leads us and we can follow Him. He cares for us and we can rest in His arms. He protects us and we can be certain the enemy will not defeat us. He provides for us and we can be assured that we’ll always have more than what we need. Just because He’s that kind of Father. He’s that kind of God. The One True God. He keeps His promises. Always.

And no matter where we are or what we’ve done, that kindness, that mercy is ours. Yes, it’s that simple.

It’s such a good place to be on the receiving side of His grace! The emphasis here is that God is God. And it is a privilege to be called His children. Why? Like we read yesterday, God is crazy in love with us. After all, He created us.


He cares for us and we can rest in His arms.



Paul quotes one of the minor prophets next:

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.” (v 25, MSG). Hosea 2:23

Paul then quotes Isaiah:

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. (v27-28, MSG). Isaiah 10:22-23.

And arithmetic need not be our focus either. Things don’t always add up in life. As long as we keep our focus on God and His grace, we don’t need to worry about anything else! We are His children. He’s got this!

Paul concludes his thoughts on the subject:

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. (v30-33, MSG).  Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16.

That’s a promise that I want to fully embrace! He is walking with us. Following Jesus is not a stumbling block! He doesn’t slow us down. Following Him is not an obstacle or wall to be climbed over. He is the stone that leads us along the path. I think when we fully embrace that He is with us “on the way,” we can have an amazing confidence that wherever we walk, we will be okay. We have nothing to fear.  In fact, we will be more than okay, because the very presence of God is with us! 


Remember this:

“At the place where they yelled out “You’re a nobody!” they are now calling you “Children of the living God!”




(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

RichlySpeaking.com


Today, I’m attaching this worship song from Bethel Worship because it mirrors our text. 


https://youtu.be/XxkNj5hcy5E











 

 

Isaiah 25

Celebrate! God keeps His promises!

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 25

Time to celebrate!

“God, you are my God. I celebrate you. I praise you. You’ve done your share of miracle-wonders, well-thought-out plans, solid and sure.” (v1, MSG).

So. Much. Joy! God keeps His promises. He is a place of safety for the poor and needy. He is our shelter.

And then there’s this:

“Here the Lord will strip away the burial clothes that cover the nations.   The Lord All-Powerful will destroy the power of death and wipe away all tears. No longer will his people be insulted everywhere. The Lord has spoken!” (v7-8, CEV).

John’s Revelation confirms this as well: “He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4, CEV).

Where does this happen? On Mount Zion! The place where Abraham offered Isaac. The place where David purchased a threshing floor. The place where Solomon’s temple once stood. In Jerusalem!

“At that time, people will say, “The Lord has saved us! Let’s celebrate. We waited and hoped— now our God is here.”” (v9, CEV).

Our God offers us all such great hope! Our God is here! He’s here in the presence of Jesus, His Son. He’s here in the comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit. He keeps His promises. We can trust Him. We can celebrate His miracles. He promises new wine. He promises a choice feast. (v6). Remember yesterday’s thoughts about wine and the joy it represents?

I’m reminded of a worship song with these lyrics:

“Where there is new wine, there is new power. There is new freedom. The Kingdom is here!” (New Wine, by Hillsong Worship, 2018).

The Kingdom IS here!

Celebrate with me!

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

 

Isaiah 15

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 15

“Moab is left in ruins.” (v1, CEV). Even its people who flee the land will be attacked.

Moab was what is now mostly the country of Jordan. It is just on the other side of the Dead Sea where many tourists float in South Israel.  It, like so much of the lands from 1000 BC, are in ruins. As will likely our lands be in 3000 years, right?

But what stands the test of time? God’s word.  Jesus says in Matthew 24:35 that even the heavens and earth will pass away but not His words.

We can be assured that His love and His promises for us will never fail. We are why He came. We can always trust the truth of His words! They will never be like the ruins of Moab, Israel or even the future ruins of any town in the USA.

And indeed, Jesus is the Word. “In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. From the very beginning the Word was with God.” (John 1:1-2, CEV). He is the One who came from Bethlehem, the house of bread. He is the one who said, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35). He is our sustenance. He is our life. He lives forever!

The soldier of God, Joshua, proclaims: “Not one word failed from all the good words God spoke to the house of Israel. Everything came out right.” (Joshua 21:45, MSG). Everything will come out for you and me as well!

I’m thankful that His words of life are truth. His words will never fail. He keeps His promises. His words stand the test of time. His word is eternal.

 

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

God watches over you.

Isaiah 31 begins with the admonition to put our trust in God alone. Don’t trust in Egyptians or Americans or your boss or your favorite sports team. They will fail you. They are mere humans.

“You are in for trouble if you go to Egypt for help, or if you depend on an army of chariots or a powerful cavalry. Instead you should depend on and trust the holy Lord God of Israel.”
Isaiah 31:1 CEV

We’ve seen throughout Isaiah the encouragement to trust God! Why? Because as verse 2 reminds us: God does what He says. He keeps His promises.

And then there’s this:

“I, the Lord All-Powerful, will protect Jerusalem like a mother bird circling over her nest.”
Isaiah 31:5 CEV

One translation says “like a huge eagle…”

God has a special place in His heart for Jerusalem and its people. And for those who believe Jesus is the Messiah, we are those people, included in that group, thanks to His “grafting us in” via the cross and the empty tomb! So, we can say that God has a special place in His heart for you and me. And like an eagle or a mother bird, He will watch over us and protect us!

I’m reminded of this beautiful Psalm:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalms 121:1‭-‬8 NIV

He is watching over you today! He sees your hopes, dreams, challenges and struggles. He will lead you to straight paths, meadows of rest and streams of living water.

He loves you and is proud of you. You can trust Him. We can trust Him together.

©️ 2019 Rich Ronald.