God’s Unpredictable Ways (Lent 26–2013)

Wharleye have a dog named Harley.  Oftentimes, he’ll walk right in front of me, looking back for cues, and try to anticipate where I’m going.  It’s annoying since he doesn’t know what I’m doing or where I’m headed. 

How can he possibly lead the way? 

I wonder if God gets frustrated with us like that.  We try to anticipate God’s movement when God alone knows the plan.

Yesterday, we saw Paul’s broken heart for Israel and today in Romans 9:9-18, he continues a theme reiterating that the Gospel—in order to be Good News—must be so for both Jew and Gentile.  It’s been God’s plan all along.

Jew and Gentile: we’re on equal ground as sinners, in our need for salvation, and in our inability to earn it, barter for it, or deserve it.

Now Paul expands that thought by showing we cannot anticipate God.  God chose (in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) the Jewish heritage for bringing the Messiah.  Being Jewish was important for fulfilling Scripture, but that’s where it ends. Gentiles were being brought into the Kingdom, but the Jews needed the Gospel too.

  • Salvation is not about lineage—Ishmael teaches us that.
  • It’s not about priority rights of birth order—Esau teaches us that.
  • It’s not about any works we can do or even faith we ourselves try to muster.  Rebecca’s twins demonstrate that it is God’s purpose alone that is important for salvation history.

Twins have the same mother and the same father—the exact same lineage—but they were not born at the same time.  There was a birth order.  Now, consider this: the Messiah couldn’t come from two men’s lineages.  So God chose one.  Rather than have us watching all the firstborns anticipating Messianic potential like it’s the NFL draft, God chose to bring His Messiah in His way, upending the whole birth order idea saying,

The older will serve the younger.” (Romans 9:12)

Traditions of men establish priority of the firstborn.  God says that it’s not that simple or formulaic.  We don’t know where He is going, so we should let Him lead.  In bringing our Messiah in an unexpected way, God demonstrated His power, His plan, His grace, His mercy, and He alone knows where He’s going in the sovereign sweep of history.

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Give it up for Lent: Trying to anticipate what God will do

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 For further study:

  1. Joseph was Jacob’s (Israel’s) favorite son (Genesis 37:3), but he is not in the lineage of Christ.  Judah, Israel’s firstborn, is.  How does this apply to how God works?
  2. Read the genealogy and birth narrative of Jesus from Matthew 1.  Identify God’s unpredictable ways.
  3. Pray about ways in which you’re trying to predict where God is going and lead Him there.  Repent of that and trust God to lead you.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on March 14, 2013

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