The Berean Expositor
Volume 52 - Page 201 of 207
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9: 13 - 10: 11.
pp. 201 - 205
Election then dominates the context of Romans we are considering and again we stress
that it is brought in here to guarantee the fulfillment of the great plan of God. The Lord
conceives the plan and chooses what human agents He will use for carrying it out to
completion. No one is in a position to say this is unreasonable or unjust. It is in this
context that the example of Pharaoh is brought in. The hardening of Pharaoh's heart has
always been a problem, but so many try to judge God without considering all the facts
given in the O.T. and thus they make their own problems and denigrate God.
God Himself states the purpose of His dealings with Pharaoh, "For the Scripture says
to Pharaoh, I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you
and that My Name might be proclaimed in all the earth" (Rom. 9: 17). See Exod.xv.14;
Josh. 2: 10; 9: 9; and I Sam. 4: 8 for the effect on the nations of the plagues and the
Exodus. That power was displayed in rescuing the people of God from the iron grip and
cruel bondage of a vicious tyrant. But some will say, it was not just for God to punish
Pharaoh seeing that He hardened Pharaoh's heart. How could Pharaoh respond and be
obedient if God dealt with him in this way? But let us take account of the facts. Three
words are used for `hardening'.
Chazaq to brace up (13 occurrences).
Qashah make hard (2 occurrences).
Kabed become heavy (6 occurrences).
Three times the Lord threatened to do this: (Exod. 4: 21; 7: 3; 14: 4), but held back
till Pharaoh's actions made his attitude of rebellion quite clear. Four times Pharaoh
hardened his own heart before the Lord's hardening (Exod. 8: 15, 19, 32; 9: 34, 35).
The consequence was that the Lord in His sovereignty did not alter Pharaoh's resolve to
oppose Him. He allowed the hardness to continue (10: 1; 11: 10; 14: 8). Even the
plagues had an element of mercy behind them, for every one was sent by God to shake
and change this man's obstinacy and contempt (5: 2). Man of himself deserves nothing.
If God deals with him it must be on the lines of mercy and grace and he is in no position
to put God into the dock and judge Him for His actions.
"One of you will say of me, `Then why does God still blame us? For who resists His
will?' But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him
who formed it, `Why did you make me like this?' Does not the potter have the right to
make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for
common use? What if God, choosing to show His wrath and make His power known,
bore with great patience the objects of His wrath--prepared for destruction?"
(Rom.ix.19-22, N.I.V.).
The Apostle will not allow any questioning of God's right to do what He wills with
His own. Who fits any to destruction? Not God; they fitted themselves by their
rebellious attitude of mind and actions that follow. It is absolutely wrong to imagine or