That he might make known the riches of his glory
Pr Edi Giudetti
The Riches of His Glory Demonstrated in Compassion
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.Romans 9:14-16
The riches of Gods glory is demonstrated in compassion.
Due to the previous verse related to the children who were not yet born, yet God stated his love for Jacob and his hatred for Esau, (Jacob’s twin), the question that begins this verse arises as natural as night follows day; “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God?”.
A similar question comes up in verse 19 that Paul answers in greater clarity, which we shall cover in the third point;
But here Paul instead reverts back to the demonstration of the Glory of God revealed through his own words to Moses, where the Lord reveals to Moses his enduring mercy, compassion and grace.
Paul answers this question by using the Bible alone as the proof that God cannot be unrighteous if the declaration of his glory is demonstrated through his compassion in the Old Testament?
Lets turn there and see the text and context for ourselves. The passage Paul refers to is found in Exodus 33:18-20
In the previous verses Moses appeals to God that he goes with them and accompany them through their journey in the Wilderness, and God promises that he will be with them, and specifically with Moses as he leads two million people or more, through the wilderness.
Moses in this verse is now comforted by Gods promise, and makes an incredible request, notice its context as we speak of how God makes known the riches of his glory;
18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.Exodus 33:18-20
As part of God’s revelation of his Glory to Moses he states he will; be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
Paul properly uses this verse as proof that, opposite to the claim on unrighteousness, Gods sovereignty according to his will, is evidence of his Glory!
Now, I implore you in this point to be very careful in your consideration here lest you be found in great error. I want to plead with you that you not think in your mind that God’s willingness to be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy, Is an arbitrary one.
Gods sovereignty does not infer a ‘flip of the coin’, or a ‘roll of the die’, or some random chance outcome.
No, chance is the ‘god of the godless’.
The God of the Bible is purposeful, nothing he does is by accident or random.
In fact, if Paul utilizes this verse as a proof of Gods righteousness and the demonstration of his goodness and Glory, Gods demonstration of his mercy on those he has chosen MUST CONFIRM IT, and we must trust it.
Unrighteousness is identified by the idea of a “random selection”, not of determined purpose.
Nothing God has done, from creation to culmination, is without reason and purpose; to think this to be so is a witness against ourselves, than it is of God. Let me explain as a parent toward the child.
I love my children; I love them more than life.
There are decisions that I might make that, temporarily disappoints them, upsets them. They might think those decisions are malevolent or unkind or unloving or without purpose, but the very fact that I cannot BUT love them proves that to be a false presumption. It just can’t be the case.
Now, they may not fully understand my reasonings.
And I might also determine that, in their current state
There are many things we are incapable of understanding when we were Children, our mum or dad knew that at the time; and to the question ‘Why?’ or ‘Why not?’, the only answer that needed to be humbly accepted was ‘because I have determined it’, ‘I said so’.
Assumed within that parental response should be,
- the knowledge the Child has with regard to the caring love of the parent for them.
- The many years of nurture demonstrated in the very fact that they have been able to reach those questioning teenage years alive.
Clearly, I am relating to a good parent, not a neglectful parent, but one who can love a child similar to how God loves.
But Children are not parents, they cannot know the love a parent has for the Child, they will never experience such love until they are parents themselves.
The love a child has for a parent cannot even begin to compare with the love a parent has for the child.
So too the Love of God toward man!
We don’t understand much of how God chooses this or that, or why he does so, but we SHOULD know his love for mankind leads to purposeful decisions to benefit them eternally.
Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. Is how the apostle answers such a question.
His proof of it turns us back to Gods own demonstration of his Glory to Moses almost two millennia earlier.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
The Riches of His Glory Declared in Power
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
This declaration of power, Paul said was demonstrated practically during that time of the Exodus in Egypt.
This verse categorically states that God had his purpose manifested in the life of Pharaoh, to “raise him up” that he might show is power in him, for the specific purpose of having his own name declared throughout all the earth.
The purpose is given, but in our minds still is the uncomfortable question that Paul will answer in the next section.
He does not answer it just yet, he first desires yet again to turn to the scriptures for that evidence of the sovereignty of God and how it is known, this time HIS POWER through an ancient and historical event.
Turn to Exodus 9:13-16 and we will see indeed what “the scripture saith unto Pharaoh”
SIX PLAGUES HAVE PAST and now, before the seventh plague of a great rain and hail, Moses gives to Pharaoh an insight into the purpose of God in him.
Does not everybody want to have the purpose of their life revealed to them by God?
Pharaoh was an evil man who cut short the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews in his lifetime. He was genocidal; he had a 20th century representation in Adolf Hitler.
But we turn back more than 3500 years for this one.
13 And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 14 For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. 15 For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. 16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
The declaration of Gods power was incredible.
Ten were the total number of plagues that came upon the nation of Egypt and the nation itself was destroyed as a result.
A manuscript that is held in the Leiden Museum in Holland, known as The Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage, also known as the Ipuwer Papyrus
The date of the original writing of it was 1800 BC, it puts us to within a hundred years of the estimated time of the Exodus. (Remember dating ancient things are very difficult).
Ipuwer was a man of high authority and obviously someone who had access to Pharaoh, because at the end of the text it said;
“These are the words that Ipuwer answered to the King”
Exodus 4:9 has Moses taking some water from the river and pour it on dry ground and it will become blood.
Ipuwer Papyrus is found written;
“Behold Egypt is fallen to the pouring of water, he who poured water on the ground seizes the mighty in misery” IP 7:5
Exudus 7:20-21 speaks of the river turned to blood, the fish die and the river smelled, the people could not drink it.
“The river is blood, the people thirst for water” Ip 2:10
The Bible says it rained hail on the land of Egypt, that the flax and the barley were destroyed. Exo 9:6, 23, 31
“Gone is the barley of abundance, food supplies are running short. The nobles hunger and suffer, those in shelter are in the dark of the storm”
The Bible says that the leaders of the nation told Pharaoh “Knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed.
“What shall we do about it? All is ruin” IP 3:13
The most incredible related to the death of the first born.
“Behold, plague sweeps the land, with no shortage of the dead….He who buries his brother in the gorund is everywhere…woe is me for the grief of this time.
The Bible speaks of the wailing throughout Egypt
“Wailing is throughout the land, mingled with lamentations” IP 3:14
So complete was the destruction, that historians found Egypt, the governing empire of the world beforehand, easily defeated afterward.
David Rohl is a British Egyptologist and former director of the Institute for the Study of Interdisciplinary Sciences. He refers to the Egyptian empire as that which was uncontested in power for 1000 years until an incredible event occurred that cannot be explained but by the Biblical account of the Exodus.
David Rohl admits himself as Agnostic concerning things of God, he has no faith in a God, but has remained curious as to the accounts witnessed in the nation of Egypt.
Specifically that archology and history declares an overwhelming power somehow rendered Egypt defenceless.
Rohl writes, in his book Exodus: Myth or History? Published in 2014, of the account given by an Egyptian Priest by the name of Manetho, who wrote in the 3rd century B.C. Who Egyptologists around the world originally used as a basis for their Reconstruction of Egyptian Dynasties. That is, to establish a time line.
This is what Manetho was quoted as writing about a unique collapse of the power of Egypt that occurs only once in the 1000 year history.
“There was a king of ours, whose name was Timaus. Under him it came to pass, I know not how, that a blast of God smote us; and there came, after a surprising manner, from the East, invaders of an obscure race marched in confidence of victory against our land. By main force they easily seized it without striking a blow (yet without our hazarding a battle with them[Josephus]) (76) So when they had gotten those that governed us under their power, they afterwards burnt down our cities, and demolished the temples of the gods, and used all the inhabitants after a most barbarous manner; nay, some they slew, and led their children and their wives into slavery.” 
The people that came against them, came from their northern borders, Egyptologists identified these people as the Hyskos and refer to this event as The Hyskos Invasion.
How did the Hyskos overrun the dominating power of Egypt without a battle?
David Rohl also recounts in an interview that, that to the nations southern borders, the great forts that where built in Egypt under the rule of Pharaoh Senusret III at the height of the Middle Kingdom, that these powerful forts fell into the hands of the Kushites from the south, and again “with no sign of major conflict”
He finds this strange because at this time, He says “Egypt was a mighty power in the Middle Kingdom” and goes on to state “Something had happened to devastate Egypt, which made them unable to defend themselves”.
Beloved what is clear by these two separate accounts that came against Egypt at almost the same time, one by the North known historically as The Hyskos Invasion, and the other from the South by the Kushites, is that a declaration of a power against Egypt was revealed to them, and they took advantage of it.
Here is extra Biblical evidence of “for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.”
Joshua was the general who led the nation of Israel over the Jordan after the death of Moses, and look at the reputation that has preceded his arrival in Jericho, a related by the Harlot Rahab who house was on the City wall;
10For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt;
But she was not all;
…the kings of the Amorites, ….heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel
And when Joshua enquired of the men of Gibeon who pretended to have come from a far country to serve Israel, when he asked them where they were from, they answered;
9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,
Gods name and power was declared through all the Earth as was evidenced historically outside of the Bible and within its pages.
It was for that reason Pharaoh was raised up and his heart hardened.
Paul does not try to excuse what was done, he does not minimize it, and I am reluctant to do so through the risk of softening the language.
Plato and Aristotle’s ancient dictum that “The end justifies the means” is defended.
But when they see evidence in Scripture of Gods Glory and righteousness demonstrated through his power, they vilify it, and condemn it as unjust!
Man condemns God declaring the riches of his glory through his power, all the while justifying the darkness of their hearts by their means!
Just as the heavens are higher than us, so to are His ways are higher than our ways, and his thoughts higher than our thoughts.
He has a purpose in all he does, and that should comfort us.
The Riches of His Glory Determined in Purpose
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?Romans 9:19-21
It’s difficult to find fault with the logic here. Both in the question and in the response.
First the question:
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
That is the question that is in the back of all of our minds when we come to truly understand that God is in control of all things and all people, hearts and kings.
Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
Within that question are some basic assumptions aren’t there?
- That all of mankind are just puppets on a string. We do only that which we are predisposed to do. According to this argument, none of us have a free will and therefore should not be held accountable.
- The second assumption is that, therefore, God is naturally to blame for all the good and the evil in the world.
Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
At this point Paul places himself in the perfect position to give an answer that speaks to the error presumed in the question.
To say simply, “no, man is perfectly accountable for his sin, and we all know this to be true”.
Paul could demonstrate through scripture all the passages that speak so plainly of mans accountability.
He could look at the basic presumption of the nature of commandments.
- How can God give commandments if man is just a puppet on a string?
- He could show that the very fact that man is given commandments demonstrates that man is accountable.
- He could show that, the very fact that God had a purpose in creating mankind to begin with, identifies accountability.
We all know that to be true, Atheist scientists know that to be true!
They know that if there was a creator to this entire universe there must therefore be accountability. THAT IS THE REASON THEY DON’T WANT TO GO WHERE THE EVIDENCE LIES.
You see, if Atheists God would not hold them justifiably accountable for sin, they would not have a problem that the obvious design in the universe points to a designer. What they are uncomfortable with, is the NATURAL IMPLICATION THAT;
- IF THE UNIVERSE IS CREATED, IT WAS CREATED FOR A PURPOSE.
- IF IT WAS CREATED FOR A PURPOSE, SO WAS MAN CREATED FOR A PURPOSE.
- IF MAN WAS CREATED FOR A PURPOSE, MAN IS ACCOUNTABLE TO THAT PURPOSE.
In 2009, in Britain, with the support of the Atheist writer Richard Dawkins, a Bus Campaign began with an Atheist slogan that epitomizes what I just noted in this sermon. The slogan plastered on 800 buses and on over 1000 other advertisements on the London Underground read;
“THERE’S PROBABLY NO GOD, NOW STOP WORRYING AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE”Dawkins Bus Campaign
BELOVED, the idea that God would not naturally be justified in finding fault, is rejected even by Atheists!
I could go much further to demonstrate that man is accountable and not a puppet in a string, but I want to to see that Paul spends no time at all arguing for that which is self-evident. My work here is to bring out the clarity of the text ONLY.
This is how Paul answers;
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
It is an answer designed to convict humility in man!
who art thou that repliest against God?
Can you even fathom the mind of God?
Can you even begin to elevate yourself to a point that you can stand in judgment of God?
Indeed, there are many people today who vainly think that when they die and are confronted by God, they are going to tell “HIM Something”.
This is the self-exalting nature of man.
But the Bible says that “all mouths will be stopped”, “Every knee shall bow”.
Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Paul does not try to placate man, but to put him in his place. You are the creature, God is the creator, and you see fit to question God?
Paul is merely putting man back in his place as the creature.
Turn to Job 38;
The book of Job is generally believed to be the book that answers the question as to why the righteous suffer. “Why do bad things happen to good people”. Sadly however, that if answering that question was truly the purpose of this book, you would be hard pressed to find a specific answer.
Job had gone almost literally through a hell on earth.
He was the richest man of the east, and he had lost it all.
He lost his children, but not his immature wife.
He had boils affecting his entire body, from the souls of his feet to the crown of his head, so much so that he used broken shards of pottery to scrape himself for relief.
And then he had his three “friends” to add to his misery.
When rolling bad things happen to us today, we refer to them as ‘Job moments’.
Job was a righteous man, and Job had been defending himself against accusations of unrighteousness by his friends.
They said he deserved what happened to him, he said he was hard done by and justified himself….but sadly, he did so to the point that also said God was ‘unjust’.
Job suffered unjustly, and saught an answer from God.
Chapters 38 to 42 is Gods answer.
We’ll read just the first few verses and will get the point;
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 9 When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, 10 And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, 11 And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
12 Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;
In the last Chapter we can see the humbling effect this had on Job (As it certainly would for us all).
Then Job answered the LORD, and said, 2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. 3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. 4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
The riches of Gods glory is determined in his purpose, Job also said in his wisdom concerning God, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him”
This is the reason Christians, true Christians, live their lives contrary to the way the world lives. We give not expecting to receive, we love knowing we are hated, we risk our lives and our freedom for the sake of the Gospel because we have the confidence of everlasting life.
Our riches and happiness is found in Christ, we have been given a new heart and the completion of our contentment is in our Saviour. He died that we might be saved, he lives that we might have fullness of life, even life eternal.
Our trials have a purpose, our lives have a reason, and all of it is good.
“And we know that ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD”.
The world around us is dying because they see no purpose. If there is no God, there is no purpose…
They think to escape accountability, but with that they also escape purpose!
The riches of his Glory is determined in his purpose
The Riches of His Glory Displayed in People
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
From verse 22 to verse 24 is one question.
There is no intention to answer the question directly, it is rhetorical.
If follows on from the statement before it, “hath the potter not power over the clay”?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known…
Well? What if he did?
Say for one moment that this was his intention, say it was to demonstrate the riches of his glory, through his endurance and longsuffering of those who this day stand condemned before a holy God?
Beloved, all who are not this day redeemed to God are this day damned before him.
“dead in trespasses and sins” according to Ephesians 2.
Remember John 3:18, it comes but two verses after the famous passage declaring his love for the world, it says;
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
What if that wrath was to be contrasted with that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Would that diminish his righteousness or the riches of his glory?
Remember the question that began this incredible paragraph was; What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God?
How long did God endure your own rebellion?
How many years and how many were the sins?
How often did you disregard him? how many times to you blaspheme his name? How long were you a “lover of pleasure more than a lover of God”?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
In me it was 29 years.
From a selfish and proud boy to a narcissistic teenager, through to a rebellious adolescent, to a proud and self serving adult. 29 years of knowing better but following, not the Golden rule of God, to Love God and love your neighbour as yourself, but the Golden rule of the devil, “do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” according to Alistair Crowley.
What about you?
What about your grandfather? How great is the longsuffering of God for them who still will not respond to the Love of God and be forgiven for their sin?
What if that wrath and endurance was contrasted to demonstrate the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? Of ALL people, no longer only the Jews, but now that grace and infinite mercy is extended to all the world.
What if you responded to this call?
What would be the contrast of your life? No more fear, no fear in death, no fear in life, perfect love has cast out all fear.
Suddenly, a life of purpose and hope, one of joy and eternal peace.
Comforted by that comforter.
Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
What if you responded? What would be the contrast eternally?
In scripture it seems so evident that the glory of heaven has its exact opposite in the misery of hell.
What if you said “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and died that I might be forgiven of my sins”?
 Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987), 778.
 Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus Timothy Mahoney. P224