Scripture Reading: Hosea 11:12-14:9 / Romans 9:1-21 / Psalm 89:9-13
In the 1920’s, a silent movie was made that eventually became a series of comedy short films and a popular television series, “The Little Rascals” or “Our Gang”. It was about a group of poor neighborhood children and their comical adventures. The majority of the children were poor and the gang was often at odds with snobbish “rich kids”, impatient adults and the injustices of society.
Spanky and Alfalfa had a clubhouse for boys only and posted a sign, “The He Man Woman Haters Club.” By the end of the episode, the darling Darla made her way into their hearts and clubhouse… and the sign was taken down. No one likes to be excluded or left out. Parents and caregivers are very intentional about including everyone and developing an environment of belonging.
In school, everyone gets to be part of “show and tell” and take their turn being the “line leader”. Everyone has a part in the play and sings in the choir. Little League baseball teams, Pee Wee basketball, and community soccer – everyone is on a team and everyone plays. It’s not until we get older, we experience the emotional turmoil that comes with not being talented enough to make the team. We eventually accept that fact that we are not wanted and set out to find where we can belong.
I love God’s “whosoever” in John 3:16…”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” God is “inclusive” yet it is conditional upon a person’s faith and belief in Christ. Paul addresses God’s “exclusiveness” here in Romans 9… “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” (vs.14)
God spoke these words to Moses after Moses pleaded for God to lead Israel to the Promised Land. God reminded Moses that it would be God’s choice and decision; it would not be left up to a group of rebellious and idolatrous people. God has every right to bless or curse, include or exclude anyone He desires. He shows us mercy and grace – not because we “deserve” it but simply because He “desires” to.
God chose Jacob over Esau while they were in Rebekah’s womb. We may say that God was unfair to Esau yet it was God’s choice and scripture validates God’s selection. God addresses the fairness question in the first part of verse 14, “What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!” He has provided a way for us to belong!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!