It is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.
Today we will look at the fact of election–that God chooses people for certain purposes. We see that all throughout the Bible. Think about this: Jesus chose 12 apostles. Why didn’t He choose 14? Why didn’t He choose 9? By choosing 12, that means there were some people He did not choose. Or think about Paul when he arrived in Troas. He wanted to go to Asia Minor, but a man appeared to him in a vision and beckoned him to come to Greece instead. Why did God send Paul to Greece instead of to Asia Minor? By making that choice, God was ensuring that some people would hear the gospel and others would not hear the gospel. We also see the doctrine of election throughout the Old Testament–and that was what Paul began with in Romans 9:6.
First, Paul said, consider Abraham. “They are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants” (9:6-7). You probably remember the story of Abraham. God was ready to begin a nation, and He needed a person to begin with. He selected a man named Abraham. Why did God choose Abraham and not somebody else? Was Abraham the only righteous man on earth? No, the fact is Abraham was just as much of a sinner as everybody else, but God chose him in spite of his works, in spite of who he was. God selected Abraham. That is election.
Second, consider Isaac. God said to Abraham, “Through Isaac your descendants will be named” (9:7). God told Abraham that He was going to give him a child with Sarah. After years passed and the promise was not fulfilled, Abraham and Sarah decided to take matters into their own hands and allowed Abraham to have intercourse with Sarah’s handmaiden, Hagar. Hagar produced a child, and that child’s name was Ishmael. It was 13 years later when God fulfilled His promise to Abraham and Sarah through Isaac. So Abraham had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. God said the descendants of Isaac would be His covenant people. God said that His promise would be fulfilled through Isaac. It all is traced back to God’s sovereign choice. God chose Isaac.
Third, consider Jacob. Paul said, “‘The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated’” (9:12-13). Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons. Normally, the promise would have gone through the older son, Esau. But God said, “No, I am choosing Jacob.” Why did God choose Jacob? Was it because of something Jacob did to earn God’s favor? No. Jacob had not even been born when the choice was made. God chose Jacob for His secret, sovereign purpose. Some people will say, “It is not fair that God would choose somebody over another person for no reason at all.” But God’s sovereignty is not capricious. God does have a reason for choosing some people over other people, but that reason is hidden from us. It is beyond our understanding. Paul said clearly, “There is no injustice with God” (9:14).
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “More Than Conquerors” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.