NT Fire Starters – Day 217: Romans 9:1-29
READ: Romans 9:1-29
THINK: God can certainly do whatever He desires and chooses; His authority and power are infinite. And yet, He allows us to choose for ourselves how to respond to His instructions, standards and actions. Though He’s always looking out for our best interests, if we choose to resist or reject His plans we will become calloused and hardened to His guidance, purposes and persistent love. But if we choose to trust Him, He will take care of us, guide us and use us for His honor. In addition, we’ll become even more sensitive to His presence and responsive to His purposes.
RESPOND: What caused Paul “great sorrow and unceasing anguish”? (See 9:1 and 9:2 notes.) Are there people in your life about whom you feel this way? What are you doing to influence them for Christ? What does it mean that God said, “Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated”? (See 9:13 note.) How did most of Jacob’s (Israel’s) descendants handle their God-given privileges and purposes? What do verses 15-16 indicate about God’s mercy and about your responsibility? (See 9:15 note.) To whom does God show mercy? (See 9:18 first note.) What really causes some people to become hardened toward God? (See 9:18 second note.) What happens when a person persistently rejects God, disregarding His Word, works and warnings? What does it mean that God is sovereign and how does His character affect His choices and actions? (See 9:21 note.) Who are “the objects of his wrath” and “the objects of his mercy”? (See 9:22-23 note.) How can a person who is headed for God’s wrath become an object of His mercy?
PRAY: Ask God to give you a heart of desperate compassion for spiritually lost people and to help you recognize and capitalize on the opportunities He gives you to reach them with His message of hope and new life. Pray that you’ll never resist His love or take it for granted, but that you’ll pass it on to others.
ACT: As you go through the day, try to view the people around you through God’s eyes of compassion. Notice those who appear to be particularly hardened by the situations of life and try to say or do something to help, encourage and demonstrate God’s love to them. Even a simple smile can make a difference.