A Poor Comparison, But it Works

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Psalm 74-76; Romans 9:16-33

16 So then, it doesn’t depend on a person’s desire or effort. It depends entirely on God, who shows mercy. 17 Scripture says to Pharaoh, I have put you in this position for this very thing: so I can show my power in you and so that my name can be spread through the entire earth. 18 So then, God has mercy on whomever he wants to, but he makes resistant whomever he wants to.

19 So you are going to say to me, “Then why does he still blame people? Who has ever resisted his will?” 20 You are only a human being. Who do you think you are to talk back to God? Does the clay say to the potter,Why did you make me like this? 21 Doesn’t the potter have the power over the clay to make one pot for special purposes and another for garbage from the same lump of clay? 22 What if God very patiently puts up with pots made for wrath that were designed for destruction, because he wanted to show his wrath and to make his power known? 23 What if he did this to make the wealth of his glory known toward pots made for mercy, which he prepared in advance for glory? 24 We are the ones God has called. We don’t come only from the Jews but we also come from the Gentiles. (Romans 9:16-24, Common English Bible)

In today’s lesson Paul makes a comparison and his comparison is a rather interesting take on Scripture. “Then why does he [God] still blame people? Who has ever resisted his will?”

It seems to me to be a reasonable question but Paul doesn’t think that is the case. “You are only a human being. Who do you think you are to talk back God?” Well, Paul was right, we are only humans. We make mistakes. We do sin. We are in need of God’s grace. Yes, Paul is absolutely correct here. And, I have no business talking back to God, none of us do.

Paul then uses a metaphor to bring his point home. Does the clay say to the potter,“Why did you make me like this?” Doesn’t the potter have the power over the clay to make one pot for special purposes and another for garbage from the same lump of clay?

Paul’s metaphor has a bit of a flaw. The clay says nothing to the potter, not because the clay sees the potter as superior, but because the clay, an inantimate object, lacks the ability to speak to the potter at all!

What Paul does show in this metaphor is the good news that God is filled with mercy. God uses that mercy to make a way for we who believe to worthy of the Kingdom. On our own we are lacking. But with God’s grace, we find something more, something we call grace, something that is ours because of the promise of Almighty God.

When we can’t do for ourselves, God can and God does for us. And, it seems to me that any metaphor Paul might have chosen would be weak, because where could we ever find something that speaks to us and does for us anywhere close to what we find with our loving God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

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