19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? (Romans 9:19-21 NIV)
– One of Romans arguments is how to interpret the experience and covenant of Abraham in light of Christ and the opening of the way to the Gentiles
– Paul here is answering the question – ‘If it is all by God’s choosing, then how can God blame people either way?
– This is reminiscent of the ending of Job where God challenges Job on this very question (Job 38-42)
This passage is about the question of election and what that means. So I hesitate to hijack this passage but today it speaks to me in my faith today about my own submission to the will and purposes of God. I want to be in control, to make decisions. Often when I am struggling to make a decision I am really struggling with the larger question of will I let God be God?
God’s purposes aren’t always (or even often) easy to understand. Especially in the moment in which I am living. And Gods purposes are not just for me but for other people and groups. I see my life in isolation and from my perspective. God sees and wills from a place that my mind cannot comprehend.
To call someone a “lump” is not a compliment. It suggests passivity, lack of ambition or direction. But in this context I want and need to be a lump – to be shaped by God for purposes beyond my understanding. Unlike the lump of clay, I can and must do so by choice and election. I elect to be the clay that God forms and chooses.
Lord, make me a lump today clay that is willingly submitted to your plans and purposes, clay that allows you to shape me and my life and my circumstances and that of others in ways that flow from your love and grace, your wisdom and truth. Like the clay I cannot understand… but unlike the clay, I must submit and respond by allowing the potter to do with me as you will. In the name of Jesus who submitted to you and your purposes at every turn. Amen.