Romans 9:19-29 – God’s Wrath and Mercy
You will say to me then, “Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— including us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
As indeed he says in Hosea,
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ”
“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they shall be called children of the living God.”
And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the children of Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved; for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth quickly and decisively.”
And as Isaiah predicted,
“If the Lord of hosts had not left survivors to us,
we would have fared like Sodom
and been made like Gomorrah.”
One of the first pieces of art I remember seeing was a sculpture of Adam and Eve at the smithsonian art museum in DC. It showed a man’s hand with a small woman standing in the palm. The docent explained to my snickering sister and me that it was a representation of Eve being made out of Adam’s rib. I think back on it now that there was some measure of social commentary that was lost on a preteen like I was at the time.
An artist cannot control how their art is viewed. The art is put out there for consumption by an audience and sometimes the audience will see the same thing as the artist intended and other times nothing at all like it. But regardless of the reception, it is still under the purview of the artist.
I hear that in Paul’s words here. God is the artist of creation, redemption, and the sustaining of the world. We observe and interpret. We do both in all kinds of ways, yet God has the final word. The final word as the artist who brought things into being, who fashioned the clay, who combined certain colors, and who acts in the way that God chooses, not always how we desire.