August 19

Today's Bible Reading
            I Samuel 11
            Romans 9
            Jeremiah 48
            Psalms 25
''As it is written, Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!'' (Romans 9:13-14)
            Our memory verse has been used by many to say that God created some to love and some to hate. The end result in that theology is that He has created some for Heaven and some for Hell. Is this true? What does it mean that He loves Jacob but hates Esau?
            It is important to know that He uses the same words in the original language as when He described our discipleship commitment. He said that we were to hate our families and follow Him. Has Jesus taught any of us to hate anyone, especially those as dear to us as our family? God forbid! Of course not! He was using comparative words that indicated that our love for Him was to be so strong that our love for the dearest ones on the earth to us would be like hate in comparison.
            Did He choose Jacob for Heaven and Esau for Hell? There is nothing in the text that indicates this. It is obvious that He chose Jacob for position and leadership, not for eternal life or eternal damnation. Now, it is important for us to realize that we are dealing with perhaps the most complex theological issue in Scripture - that of God's sovereignty and man's volition. This continues to be a controversial issue in the church. How can God be absolutely sovereign when man is completely responsible for his own decisions and actions? There are mysteries in Scripture that are understood completely by God alone. God is God and infinite; and man is man and finite. When you examine, in this chapter, verses 16-20, you will come to the same conclusion, “Who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it…Why have you made me like this?”
            So Paul makes clear that God is truly sovereign and we are truly responsible. You have no grounds for questioning truth simply because it cannot be humanly understood. You cannot understand the trinity, the vicarious atonement, the bodily resurrection, the virgin birth, and many other miracles in God's plan.
            Therefore, in reverence and obedience, we must resolve not to question the ways of God that surpass our understanding; rather, readily and humbly respond to His earnest invitation to become His adopted, compliant children with the finished work Christ presented in the Gospel. To know that you are a cherished, finite child of a sovereign, infinite God should be enough to thrill your heart today as you serve Him.
            There are many diverse language and ethnic groups to be reached in Australia. Pray today for the Aboriginal tribes (at least 340,000), the Muslims (around 255,000), the Chinese immigrants (as many as 450,000), the Vietnamese (possibly 150,000), and diverse peoples from throughout the world. There are also at least 85,000 Jews in Australia, half of them living in Melbourne. They also have a large gathering of southern Europeans from Italy, Greece, Poland, and Spain that live in Australia. Pray for the large number of missionaries who serve the Lord in Australia to reach out to these diverse peoples groups in this interesting country.
            My recent trip to Australia revealed that there are many growing, dynamic churches throughout Australia with a heart for worship and missions. Pray that God will give them a fervent compassion for the lost around them and the methods necessary to reach them for Christ. The church in Australia has the potential to impact much of the world.