God made a curious statement to Moses in the Old Testament (Exodus 33:19), and Paul repeats it in the New Testament not once, but twice. The first repeat is found in Romans 9:15.
I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Though the wording is slightly different, the second is in verse 18.
The topic is Mercy and the context is Service in both passages.
It’s an interesting statement because it sounds restrictive, as if God is selectively rather than generously merciful. Makes it sound like some are in and some are out.
Interpretations vary but some take it to an extreme suggesting there is no rhyme or reason, no formula for who receives mercy and who doesn’t. God shows mercy only to a select few and reveals no reason for the choices He makes.
If you’re lucky enough to receive mercy, be grateful. If not, sorry.
The Romans passage does mention specific people: Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob. Even nations are named: Gentiles and Israel. And sure enough, in each pair, one is selected and the other is left out. [Read more…]