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Romans 9:16-18


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Heavenly Father,


As I prepare to do the study this morning, I've been noticing that today I'm feeling a little vulnerable. Your Spirit has been 'cleaning out' my heart, removing all the junk I had been accumulating over the years for various reasons...pride, fear, control, etc. While it's not totally cleaned out, there sure is a lot more moving space in my heart, and it feels very open.


I'm not quite sure if I like that feeling yet...I know that I'm not quite comfortable with it, it makes me a little nervous for some reason. I start to have thoughts of 'take control Darlene' and at the same time I sense Your precious Spirit urging me to leave it alone, and trust You.


So, as I ponder all this, I'm noticing how there are many times I'm quite comfortable being vulnerable and open, but there are also times like right now, when I am not comfortable with it, so I want to hold the reigns (per se) and decide when it's ok and when it's not. I want to go back out and collect some of the 'things' You've been clearing out of my heart, and move them back in to serve as barriers, I guess.


Interesting, huh? I wonder how deep Your 'spiritual knife' can cut, not to hurt, but to open my heart even more fully, to You.


I dunno, but You've brought me this far and I'm amazed at the beautiful and holy way You've done it, so let's go Father.


Your will, not mine.


In Jesus Name I pray,




16. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy.


17. For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee My power, and that My name might be published abroad in all the earth.


18. So then He hath mercy on whom He will, and whom He will He hardeneth.


The rvbv writes in the 16th verse: "Oh, that this great verse might sink into our ears, into our very hearts! Perhaps no statement of all Scripture so completely brings man to an utter end. Man thinks he can "will" and "decide," God-ward, and that after he has so "decided and "willed," he has the ability to "run," or, as he says, to "hold out." But these two things, deciding and holding out, are in this verse utterly rejected as the source of salvation, - which is declared to be God that hath MERCY. Human responsibility is not at all denied here: man ought to will, and ought to run. But we are all nothing but sinners, and can do, - will do, neither: unless God come forth to us in sovereign mercy. (God has come forth at Calvary! He has set forth Christ as a propitiation through faith in His blood. Here is infinite love, displayed when human sin was at its topmost height of frightful guilt and malignity. "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34) were the words spoken in tenderness to God the Father by God the Son at the moment wicked hands were nailing Him to a cross of agony - spoken by One whose face was "marred more than any man. Therefore in the gospel is power to turn men's hearts, for it is the goodness of God that leadeth us to repentance. "That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in my Name," said our risen Lord, He of the pierced hands and feet and side!)."


Verses 17 and 18: "Now in Pharaoh's case, it is customary to emphasize the fact that he said: "Who is Jehovah, that I should hearken unto His voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, and moreover I will not let Israel go" (Ex. 5:2).


But we must go back of that to Exodus 4:21: "And Jehovah said unto Moses, When thou goest back into Egypt, see that thou do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in thy hand: but I will harden [lit., make strong] his heart, and he will not let the people go.


"And I will harden Pharoah's heart and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not hearken unto you, and I will lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth My hosts, My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments" (Ex. 7:3,4).


Now it is not necessary nor right to make God the author of Pharaoh's stubbornness. No more is it right to insist that if God be a God of love He must save everybody, as all sorts of Universalists claim. Exodus 7:13,14 records Pharaoh's attitude after the first "wonder"; and then God's report of Pharaoh's heart condition, - for God sees the heart: "And Pharaoh's heart was hardened [lit., was strong], and he hearkened not unto them; as Jehovah had spoken."


"And Jehovah said unto Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is heavy.'" Now the Hebrew word translated "heavy" or "hard" here, is frequently used of that which weighs down, as in Exodus 17:12: "Moses' hands were heavy"; and in I Kings 12:10: "Thy father made our yoke heavy." See especially Isaiah 1:4: "A people laden [lit., heavy] with iniquity." On the whole, therefore, we are compelled to see that Pharaoh's heart was left by God simply in its natural state, - heavy with iniquity. Unlike Jehoshaphat (II Chron. 17:6), his heart had never been "lifted up in the ways of Jehovah." Unlike David, he had not even felt the weight of his sins, for David complains, in Psalm 38:4:


"Mine iniquities are gone over my head;

As a heavy burden they are too heavy for me."


The word 'heavy' here is the same Hebrew word which God uses to describe Pharaoh's heart, in Exodus 7:14.


God had a perfect right to allow Pharaoh to remain (where we all would have remained, apart from Divine sovereign mercy!), in a disobedient, God-defying attitude: "Who is Jehovah that I should obey Him?" Pharaoh fulfilled the Divine counsels. The plagues his rebellion brought on, and his overthrow at the Red Sea, are celebrated in Exodus 15:14: "The peoples have heard, they tremble." The pagan Philistines, even in Samuel's day said: "These are the gods that smote the Egyptians with all manner of plagues in the wilderness" (I Sam. 4:7,8). Jehovah's name was indeed through this unregenerate rebel, Pharaoh, "published abroad in all the earth," just as He said!


What God's Word tells us as to His dealing with Pharaoh, explains "He hardeneth." But nothing else than a subject heart of faith will enter, with reverent footstep, into the twice repeated words, "whom He will," here. And we say boldly, that a believer's heart is not fully yielded to God until it accepts without question, and without demanding softening, this eighteenth verse."


Heavenly Father,


What does one say to this? You are God, and we are not. Do we sometimes think we have 'rights' and can challenge You?


The 18th verse can have the appearance of feeling a little harsh, and scary, which it really is. I know that I sometimes forget Father, how serious our salvation and walk with You, the Son and Your Spirit, are.


Pour out Your Spirit Father upon Your children, that we might be able to be who You created us to be, for without You, all is hopeless.


At least that's the way it is for me.


I love You very, very much.


In Jesus Name I pray,


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This part struck me....cuz these seem sometimes to be so troubling words...that God 'hardens' some hearts...


but I will harden [lit., make strong] his heart,


Literally: to make strong


So God was not changing anything about Pharaoh's heart that wasn't already there. He strengthened it.


...as in: You love your opinions so much, go ahead and have them; but you will have none of ME.




..........and being of a rather opinionated sort myself :busted: .....whew!



MtRider [...pondering some on this....and quite sure I don't want my own opinion *that* badly.... :shakinghead: ]

Edited by Mt_Rider
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