A Place of Struggle

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Psalm 72-73; Romans 9:1-15

But it’s not as though God’s word has failed. Not all who are descended from Israel are part of Israel. Not all of Abraham’s children are called Abraham’s descendants, but instead your descendants will be named through Isaac. That means it isn’t the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children from the promise who are counted as descendants. The words in the promise were: A year from now I will return, and Sarah will have a son.

10 Not only that, but also Rebecca conceived children with one man, our ancestor Isaac. 11 When they hadn’t been born yet and when they hadn’t yet done anything good or bad, it was shown that God’s purpose would continue because it was based on his choice. 12 It wasn’t because of what was done but because of God’s call. This was said to her: The older child will be a slave to the younger one. 13 As it is written, I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.

14 So what are we going to say? Isn’t this unfair on God’s part? Absolutely not! 15 He says to Moses, I’ll have mercy on whomever I choose to have mercy, and I’ll show compassion to whomever I choose to show compassion.

When I am honest with myself, I really struggle with today’s passage from Romans 9. As much as I love Romans 8, Romans 9 is that much of a struggle for me. We read, “Not all of Abraham’s children are called Abraham’s descendants, but instead your descendants will be named through Isaac.” Paul is clearly alluding to Ishmael. He also says that Isaac’s children are children of the promise.

I struggle here because in Genesis 17:20 we read, “As for Ishmael, I’ve heard your request. I will bless him and make him fertile and give him many, many descendants. He will be the ancestor of twelve tribal leaders, and I will make a great nation of him.” God is promising Abraham that God will make a great nation from the descendants of Ishmael and then destine them all for damnation? When we read in 1 John that God is love, I have a hard time reconciling these two passages is difficult for me to do.

I understand what Paul was saying here. Paul’s intent clearly is an to attempt to bring at least some of the Jews into the fold of Christianity. And, Paul is right, God, being omnipotent can bring anyone God wants into the Kingdom. God can show mercy when God chooses and the opposite is equally true.

For some of you, this may not be a struggle at all. I am truly glad you can. And, when I am face to face with God, perhaps then, I can get an explanation I can better understand. In the meantime, I have to satisfy myself with the knowledge that because of faith in Jesus Christ, I am a child of the promise. Might those children of Ishmael be part of that promise too? From what I can see, it doesn’t look too likely, but in the end, the really good news is, it isn’t my call and it isn’t your call. God alone will decide who is and who is not a child of the promise. Can we really ask any more than that?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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