Summary: The lesson of Israel teaches us about dealing with some of life’s difficult questions.
TEXT: ROMANS 9:1-33
TITLE: “DIFFICULT QUESTIONS”
INTRODUCTION: A. How do you answer these questions?
1. If humans evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and
2. Is there another word for “synonym”?
3. What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?
4. Would a fly without wings be called a walk?
5. Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?
6. If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?
7. What was the “best thing” before sliced bread?
8. If you try to fail, but succeed, which have you done?
B. Life is full of difficult questions.
1. There just doesn’t seem to be answers to all of our questions.
2. Some of the most difficult questions come when we don’t understand what God is
doing in our lives.
3. Through Paul’s teaching about Israel, we can find some answers to some very
I. HAS GOD FAILED?
--Rom. 9:4-13 – “the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants,
the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is
traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. It is not as though God’s
word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his
descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will
be reckoned.’ In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of
the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. For this was how the promise was stated: ‘At the
appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.’ Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and
the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in
order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, ‘The
older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’”
A. The Jews were confused
--They wanted to know why God had turned His back on His chosen people.
1. If they were supposed to be the chosen people, why is God now allowing Gentiles to receive His
2. If they were supposed to be the chosen people, why is it that not all Jews are considered
saved under the teachings of Jesus Christ?
3. Why didn’t God follow through on what He said He was going to do?
B. God was faithful in what He promised.
--Look at the blessings He brought through the Jewish people (vss. 4 & 5):
1. Adoption as sons
a. God had called a man we know as Abraham to become the father of a special people and God was
known as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
b. This special people would be set apart to serve God and His purposes on this earth
2. The divine glory
3. The covenants
a. The covenant with Adam
b. The covenant with Noah
c. The covenant with Moses
d. The covenant with Abraham
4. The receiving of the Law
5. The Temple worship
6. The promises
7. The patriarchs
8. The Messiah
C. Paul then explains that the bloodline means nothing
1. It’s not physical descent that makes you an heir of the promise.
a. Abraham’s first son was Ishmael but he wasn’t the son of the promise
--Ishamael was a product of human effort to run ahead of God
b. He had six other sons born to him by Keturah, the woman he married after Sarah died
--Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah
c. Only Isaac was God’s plan and only Isaac was the son of the promise
2. It’s God’s plan that’s most important.
--It’s being faithfully obedient to that plan that verifies your status as an heir of the promise.
D. Paul also explains that God does things the way that He sees is best.
--Not the way we see best
1. Solomon tells us in Eccl. 11:5 – “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed
in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.”
2. God says in Is. 55:8-9 – “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’
declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”