The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. -Proverbs 16:4
Sometimes people only read half, watch half, and half listen. God has made everything for his purpose.
They have no idea how limitless he is. Even the wicked for the day of trouble.
I wonder what it was like for Pharaoh to have God harden his heart and then have to watch the outcome. Pharaoh begged Moses to do whatever he could do to make God stop. Moses said that he would have to go at least three days journey away in order to not be disturbed (stoned) by the rest of the Egyptians. Pharaoh agreed, but didn’t want him to go too far…
“…[Don’t] go very far away. Plead for me.” -Exodus 8:28
Plead for me.
Pharaoh was in the core of God’s sovereign choice and he knew it. God planned to harden Pharaoh’s heart. This isn’t about looking at Pharaoh like he was a victim. The thing about Pharaoh was that he was the kind of person that would go back to his old ways as soon as the pressure was off. He had his own personality issues. It is about getting people to consider how far God will go to carry out His purpose. “The Lord has made everything for His purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”
It’s confusing if you only half read, half watch, or half listen. The whole story can’t be boxed up because it’s still telling itself. Being aware of the questions gives you the perspective you need to really love people. It will help you have compassion and not give up on anyone. It’s not about who to blame, it’s about Who to trust. How else can you really offer grace to the undeserving?
Look at what Jesus said about Judas (another ‘vessel of wrath’):
“…not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” -John 17:12
Judas was used to fulfill scripture that was written long before he was born.
Look what God said about Pharaoh:
“When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.” -Exodus 4:21
Pharaoh’s end was determined before he knew he had an option.
You have to look at Romans 9. Read the whole thing because I’m only going to quote a little bit of it:
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. -Romans 9:14-18
This doesn’t depend on “human will or exertion, but on God.” It goes against our human will so violently that people will try to reject it because it’s confusing.
You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patiencevessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory…” -Romans 9:19-23
This boils all human effort down to God is God and we are His to be used to whatever end He chooses. We are His creation. He is our Creator. This elevates God to the One we should fear and trust. You have no idea what God is doing or what He’s using.
Things are not as they seem. Outsiders are insiders, insiders are outsiders, and if outsiders are insiders then insiders who are outsiders could still be insiders.
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved. And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” -Romans 9:25-26