Rom 9:14-16 I Will Have Mercy on Whom I Will Have Mercy 3/29/2015

  • A Stiff-necked People (Ex 33:1-3,11-16, John 15:13, Heb 3:18, John 17:3)






#1. Show Me Thy Glory (Ex 33:17-20, 6:3, John 17:1-5)






  • The Lord Descended in the cloud (Ex 34:5-7, Matt 1:21, 28:19, Rom 8:28, Rom 9:13)






#2. Is God Unrighteous? (Rom 9:14-15, Mic 7:18-19, John 20:31)






  • So Then It Is Not of Him That Willeth (Rom 9:16, John 1:12-13)





#3. The Wisdom and Knowledge of God (Rom 11:33-36, I John 4:19)





Please open your Bibles to the second Scroll in your Bibles, Exodus 33:1 (2X). This was just after the children of Israel had been worshipping the golden calf that Aaron made. It was also at this time that Moses in anger broke the two tables of stone that God had made, on which were written the Ten Commandments. Then Moses pleaded to God that He would forgive these people their idolatry. But Moses forgot that he sinned also by breaking the two tables that God had made. The fact is that God either will forgive all the sins of an individual, or God does not forgive any of their sins. There is no in between group of whom only some of their sins are forgiven. Thus, what Moses is asking is that God will save and adopt all these Israelites as His children. Will God do that? If you read these sentences carefully you will see that God does not commit Himself to saving ALL the Israelites. The title of this sermon is I Will Have Mercy on Whom I Will Have Mercy. God decides on whom He will have mercy. God had mercy on Moses. Certainly Moses was saved. Moses was the prophet of God, but Moses was now also acting as the mediator between God and the people. What is a mediator? A mediator is negotiating peace between two parties who are at war with one another. The two parties are: God on the one side and the children of Israel on the other side. What did God think of Moses' pleading? God's response was: "Thou art a stiff-necked people"! Let us read this in Ex 33:1-3,

  • A Stiff-necked People (Ex 33:1-3,11-16, John 15:13, Heb 3:18, John 17:3)

Exodus 33:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it:

Exodus 33:2 And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:

Exodus 33:3 Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiff-necked people: lest I consume thee in the way.

Paraphrased God said, "Take these people whom you, Moses, have brought out of the land of Egypt and go to the land that I have promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; but I will no longer go with you; I will send an angel to help you drive out the Canaanites". But Moses was not happy with this arrangement. Moses continued to plead with God. And is this not a great comfort to us? We too can plead with God as if we speak to Him face to face. We read about this in Ex 33:11,

Exodus 33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

There was a wonderful closeness and intimacy between God and Moses. Does Moses alone have the privilege to speak to God face to face? No! God spoke with Moses as with a friend. Do you remember that the Lord Jesus said in John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down His life for His friends". Therefore, if the Lord Jesus Christ has suffered and died for anyone of us, then we are His friends; we can speak with Him face to face, like Moses, and we can continue to plead with God for the salvation of our loved ones again, and again, and again. Now, why could not everyone in the nation of Israel speak with God face to face? It was because most of them were never saved. For example, we read in Heb 3:18, "And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?" They were unsaved because they were unbelievers. Therefore the rest that is spoken of in Heb 3 is the rest we have in the finished work of Christ for us.

Exodus 33:12 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, "I know thee by name, and thou (Moses) hast also found grace in my sight".

Exodus 33:13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.

Moses pleaded with God to show him the way. What way is this? This is God's way to salvation. This not just the way to the Promised Land of Canaan, but this is the way to the Kingdom of God. See what Moses is asking: "shew me now Thy way, that I may know Thee". Lord, teach me to know Thee. The Lord Jesus taught us in John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent". Salvation is synonymous with "knowing God". First of all, the Bible says that we are unable to discover God's way for ourselves. Secondly, only God Himself can show us His way. God the Holy Spirit must reveal to us the way. That is God's way. But concerning the petition in V.13: "and consider that this nation is thy people" there was no answer from God. God sidestepped this request, because only a remnant chosen by grace from the nation of Israel were truly His people. God's sovereignty applies here also: "I will have mercy on whom I ill have mercy", and that does not depend on whom your forefathers were. Based on Heb 3:18 we can say that at that time in the wilderness there was only a very small remnant that were God's people.

Exodus 33:14 And He (God) said, My presence shall go (with thee), and I will give thee (Moses) rest.

Exodus 33:15 And he (Moses) said unto Him, If thy presence go not (with me), carry us not up hence.

Exodus 33:16 For wherein shall it be known here that I "and" thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I "and" thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

Moses kept pressing: "I and Thy people", but God told him plainly: "I will give thee (Moses) rest". Is it not a great blessing to know that God's presence will be with us? God gave us this assurance throughout the Bible. God said in various places: "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world"(Matt 28:20). "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble". (Psalm 46:1) "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God" (Isa 41:10). "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me" (Psalm 23:4). "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb 13:5). And then Moses asked this BIG question:

#1. Show Me Thy Glory (Ex 33:17-20, 6:3, John 17:1-5). First we read in verse 17,

Exodus 33:17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

Now God speaks to Moses alone, and God is not speaking about the nation of Israel. Moses' petition was partially granted: God would not destroy the nation of Israel, God would show Moses the way, God would give Moses rest from his sins through the finished work of Christ, God would go with Moses and therefore God would also be present with the nation of Israel because Moses, the child of God, was with them. Moses was certain to go to heaven to see God. And then Moses asked in V.18:

Exodus 33:18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

This is the great desire of all God's people. We have been redeemed by Christ to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We desire to see Him in all of His glory. But this privilege we will only have when this body dies, or when we have been raptured up to be with Christ forever on the Last Day. But what is God's glory? Is it so much sparkle and shine that the radiation kills us? That is what many preachers make us believe. But look at how God defines His glory here in verse 19,

Exodus 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD (JEHOVAH) before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

Exodus 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

God lists here five attributes of God we must remember when God speaks about His glory: #1 His Goodness, #2 His Name, #3 His Grace, #4 His Mercy, #5 His Radiation. It is true that His radiation would kill our mortal bodies, but God does not list that as the primary characteristic of His glory. Before God created the heavens and the earth God was infinitely glorious already, and that was before God created radiation and light. Therefore, if we want to know God's glory we should seek it first of all in His goodness. What is the goodness of God? We can describe God's goodness as His abundant lovingkindness toward those He has chosen to save. It is this attribute of His goodness that calls forth God's wrath against sin and evil. God hates the stain of sin and evil on His elect people, and therefore God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that He might become sin for us, in our place. And then God cleansed His Son from the guilt of our sins by pouring His wrath on the Lord Jesus Christ, to the extent that His sufferings became equivalent to us spending an eternity in Hell.

Secondly, the glory of God is the proclamation of His Name. What is His Name? We can come up with the name of Jehovah, or Jesus Christ, or any other of the more than 100 names for Christ used in the Bible. But the name of God that synchronizes with His goodness is that found in Ex 6:3. Please turn to Ex 6:3 (2X). God spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, just before God brought the ten plagues on the land of Egypt. These ten plagues caused Pharaoh to let Israel go. God said in Ex 6:3,

Exodus 6:3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty,

but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.

Now, why would God say that? The name Jehovah, also written as The LORD, was mentioned 164 X in Genesis, many years before the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. The name Jehovah, the great "I Am" who is from everlasting, this name was known from Adam to Moses. But now God says that the Patriarchs did not know the character of Jehovah as a God who delivers and redeems. What God was going to do through Moses was to bring deliverance to enslaved Israel, and God was going to reveal His redemptive character. The proclamation of the character of Jesus is falling along the same line, because the angel said to Joseph: "He shall save His people from their sins".

Thirdly and fourthly the glory of God is to bestow His grace and His mercy on whom He wants to bestow it. God decides, because God is sovereign. Very few Christians really know the difference between grace and mercy. Grace is God giving us what we do not deserve. For example, God's grace is seen in His preservation of our body before our salvation, or in giving us a spouse or children who are witnesses to us, or in sending an evangelist to our door at the right time, or in pressing a Bible in our hands. All these are gifts of grace, because these are gifts that we do not deserve. But thereafter we get to know God's mercy, which is Christ crucified for the sins of His people. Mercy is God withholding from us what we do deserve. Then we get to know that we were sinners on the way to Hell. "But God who is rich in mercy", has sent the Lord Jesus Christ to suffer and die in our place, so that God could withhold the penalty of Hell from us, which we so justly deserved. That is why we are called to "come to the "Throne of Grace", in order that we may obtain mercy". Only those who have been made to feel how grievously they have sinned can understand the mercy of God.

Put a sticker here in Ex 33, and please turn to the Gospel according to John 17:1 (2X). John chapter 17 is called the "High Priestly Prayer" of the Lord Jesus. This was the last public prayer of Jesus before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane where He began His suffering for our sins. He would be bound, humiliated, spit upon, tortured, stripped naked and crucified until He died. We do not see much glory in that, but Jesus' prayer was overflowing with the words glory, and glorify. We read:

John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

John 17:2-3 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Why did Jesus pray this way when He clearly saw that He was going to be crucified? We can only understand this when we know that God's glory has to do with His goodness to all His elect people, and His glory has to do with the proclamation of His Name as our Deliverer from the clutches of sin and Satan, and His glory has to do with His grace and His mercy which He was going to bestow on His elect people for whom He suffered and died. Jesus prayed this way because the Son is glorified at the cross. His people are there redeemed. In other words, the glory of God is His victory over sin and the salvation of His elect people. Now we understand this because we first have seen it in Ex 33.

Please turn now to Ex 34:5 (2X). In the previous chapter God told Moses what He was going to do. Now, in chapter 34, we see the fulfillment of the promise, which He had made to Moses in Ex 33:19. Here again God defined His glory.

  • The Lord Descended in the cloud (Ex 34:5-7, Matt 1:21, 28:19, Rom 8:28, Rom 9:13)

Exodus 34:5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD (Jehovah).

The Lord proclaimed the name of Jehovah, the Deliverer of Israel from the House of Bondage. To proclaim His name signified that He was revealing Himself as the God who saves. Just as the angel said to Joseph concerning the Child Mary was to bear, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt 1:21). The name Jesus revealed what He was: The Divine Savior, who saved His people from bondage to sin and Satan. And just as the Lord Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt 28:19) because it is thus that the triune God now stands revealed. We read in Ex 34:6,

Ex 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God (Jehovah, Jehovah God) merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

Exodus 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Here again, in verse 6, the Lord proclaimed the character of His name Jehovah. Toward His elect people God is full of mercy and full of grace. He is longsuffering, which means that God shows self-restraint in the face of provocation; He does not hastily retaliate or punish, because God delights in mercy. God is abundant in goodness toward His elect people, because "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Rom 8:28). God is abundant in truth for His elect people, because God will make known to them His Covenant, and He will show them the truths that are hidden in His Word. In verse 7 God says that He is preserving His mercy for the many thousands who are scheduled to receive mercy for their sins, because the Lord Jesus Christ already paid for the guilt of their sins on the cross. Therefore He is forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, where all three synonyms of sin are mentioned, to include everything from the guilt of sin we inherited from Adam to the very last of our sins in this life, and even our intent to sin. But then we read something that shocks us as something contradictory. God says, "and that will by no means clear the guilty". God will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, because God is a just and righteous Judge. God does not have mercy on us and God does not forgive our sins by some hand waving. A righteous Judge may not do so, because a righteous Judge must adhere to the Law, and the Law of God may not be changed for someone whom the Judge loves very dearly. Since the Law of God says that "the wages of sin is death", and the death that has been decreed by the Law of God is "the second death" in the Lake of Fire for an eternity, that penalty must be paid. Therefore, if God desires to save sinners from going to Hell, it means that God must come up with a Substitute who can bear the awful penalty that is to be paid. The only Substitute who is able to bear such a penalty is not an angel, but God Himself. Therefore God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and God gave Him a human body so that He could identify Himself as our Kinsman, because a Redeemer must also be our Kinsman. Then God transferred the guilt of all the sins of all those whom Christ came to save on the Lord Jesus Christ, and He paid for those sins the equivalent of an eternity in Hell when He suffered the wrath of God from Thursday evening in the Garden of Gethsemane until Friday afternoon on the cross. The Lord Jesus did not provide the possibility of salvation, but He mightily saved all those whom He came to save, "For He shall save His people from their sins". The Lord Jesus did not suffer for the sins of every person who ever lived, "For He shall save His people from their sins", and only His people. The Lord Jesus deliberately passed by all others, thereby making a distinction between the Elect and the Reprobate. And is this not what the second half of Ex 34:7 is saying? God will not at all leave unpunished any sin. Either the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross paid for those sins, or those sins will have to be paid by the guilty themselves, and God is "visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children" for many generations. How are the sins of the fathers transmitted unto the following generations? By imitation! The children follow their parents in what they believe and do, and so the children are enslaved to the same sins that their parents were, until God decides to break the cycle and God will save some of them. God chooses whom He will save, and God passes by those whom He wants to leave in their sins and send them to Hell, which they so justly deserve. God stated this very plainly when He said, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated". Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, chapt 9. There in Romans chapter 9:11 God stated this verse that is so hated by many preachers that they will skip this chapter altogether. God says that before the children were born, before they could have done any good or evil, God said, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated". The human mind then raises the question:

#2. Is God Unrighteous? (Rom 9:14-15, Mic 7:18-19, John 20:31). We read in Rom 9:14,

Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

The mere fact that this question comes up indicates the madness of the human mind. People are more inclined to charge God with unrighteousness than to blame themselves for their blindness. It is as if they fear that they may be in the category of Esau, and therefore they want to decide if they should believe what God has written in the Bible, or if they should dismiss it altogether as a scribal error of some kind. But God is not on trial. Mankind is on trial. The mere fact that this question is in the Bible proves that God elects some and passes by others. How so? Well, if God would deal with everyone according to their merit, which means according to their works, then no one would even entertain the question whether God is unrighteous. But God, knowing how the human mind works, already anticipated this objection, and God openly brought forth this doctrine without trying to conceal it or to soften the blow. Without any question God teaches here that before men are born their lot is assigned to each by the secret will of God. Therefore we will not patiently endure those who teach the free will of man, because they appear to be wiser than God the Holy Spirit. Let godly teachers not be ashamed to make an honest profession of the true doctrine, however hated it may be. Now, God will answer the question of verse 14 in two steps. First God answers it for His Elect in verses 15-16, and secondly God answers it for the Reprobate in verses 17-18. Let us look at God's answer in verse 15,

Romans 9:15 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.

Here is a quotation from Ex 33:19. Now you know why we have spent so much time there. Paraphrased God says here, "I will have mercy on whom I choose to have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I choose to have compassion". Who can argue with God with what He chooses to do? But many men and women preachers these days dare to attack this doctrine of God's freedom to choose to save whom He will. We understand that if God's election must be determined by external causes, then His freedom is taken away. In this verse God declared that He is a debtor to no one of mankind, and that whatever He gives is a free gift from God without any strings attached. His kindness is free so that He can bestow it on whom He pleases. There is no cause higher than His own good pleasure, why He does good and shows favor to some men and not to all. Paraphrased this verse reads as if God has said: "To whom I have once purposed to show mercy, from him I will never take it away; and with perpetual kindness will I follow him to whom I have purposed to be kind". Remember, mercy means God is withholding what we do deserve. Because of our sins we deserve to go to Hell. But our God delights in mercy. For example, let me read to you from Mic 7:18-19,

Micah 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy.

Micah 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

Who will deny God this freedom to pardon whom He desires to pardon? We are immensely grateful to God for pardoning our sins. And how do we know that He has pardoned us? All who believe His Word, i.e. all who believe God have been pardoned. It means that all whom God intended to save have been drawn by the Father "to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (J. 20:31)

Now, let us turn to the next verse, Rom 9:16. There we read:

  • So Then It Is Not of Him That Willeth (Rom 9:16, John 1:12-13)

Rom 9:16, So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Therefore our election may not be ascribed to our diligence, or to our striving, or to our efforts, but it is completely the counsel of God, which is the source of our election unto salvation. Our willing or our running cannot do anything for us. We are made willing after God has bestowed His grace and mercy upon us. Therefore we must feel assured that the salvation of those whom God is pleased to save is ascribed to God's mercy alone, so that nothing may remain that points to the works of man.

The terms "willing" and "running" are derived from the circumstances connected with the history of Esau. In vain was Isaac willing to bless Esau, and in vain was Esau running to obtain the blessing. God's sovereign decree overruled them both. Esau was a type of the unbelieving Jews and he was also a type of people who are in name Christians. There is some sort of willing and a great deal of running, but the blessing is not received. There is much zeal in Pharisaism, and there is much running in the activities of the church of Rome, but it all boils down to mechanical worship, and superstition, and self-righteousness. None of that is productive, because the revealed will of God is in all these instances misunderstood and neglected. Isaac acted as though he had forgotten what God had declared before the children were born. And Rebekah acted as if God could not work out His purpose without her interference, and it was an interference which was very improper and sinful. It was a trial of faith for all four persons involved, and they all failed the test. Yet the purpose of God was still fulfilled, but God was not pleased with the improper manner in which it was fulfilled.

Please turn about 120 pages to your left to the Gospel according to John, chapter 1:12 (2X). What we read here in Rom 9:16 should be familiar to those who have read John chapter 1. There in the first 18 verses of this chapter God gave a summary of what is to follow in the Gospel according to John. For example, in chapter 3 God speaks about the necessity to be "Born Again". God touched on that subject matter in John 1:12-13. There we read,

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

In verse 12 are some basic fundamentals: Those who become saved become the sons of God. The ones who become saved have received Christ, and these are the ones who believe on His name. But who are those that received Christ? Verse 13 answers that question. Let me give a few examples They are not the ones who were born of good Jewish stock, and they are not the ones who are willing to make a decision for Jesus, and they are not the ones who have been baptized in water because their father willed it so, but they are the ones who were born of God. They are the ones who received Christ, because God did a miracle in their souls, which caused them to believe on His Name.

Please turn about 4 pages to your right, to Rom 11:33 (2X). There we read about,

#3. The Wisdom and Knowledge of God (Rom 11:33-36, I John 4:19)

Here is the first of six doxologies in the Epistle to the Romans. Whenever we have a sermon or another discourse on the eternal counsels of God, let us set a bridle on our thoughts and our tongues, so that we may speak the Word of God faithfully, no matter how shocking God's words may be to our ego. And then, when we have spoken within the limits of God's holy Word, let our reasoning end in admiration of God, because we are not ashamed to admit that we are not wiser than He is. We read,

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Romans 11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor?

Romans 11:35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

Rom 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

We mortals are too blind to view God's predestination by our own understanding. We mortals have no reason of complaint against God, because none of us can boast that God owes us something. Therefore, if we truly have been saved, then these verses in Romans chapter 9 are not threatening to us, but they are a comfort to us. God says that if we have been saved we understand the mind of the Lord, because we have not received the spirit of this world, but we have received the Spirit which has been given us by God. And God's Spirit instructs us concerning God's goodness, and concerning God's grace and His mercy, which would be incomprehensible to us if we were not saved.

To summarize it in my own words, I understand that God says: "Trust Me! I know that these concepts are somewhat difficult to understand, but you have to believe that I am a just God. I will not be unfair. I know how wicked the hearts of men are. I will give everyone what they deserve. In fact, to those who want a life without God here on earth, I will give them a life without God in the life here after, and to those who are now eagerly looking forward to be in My presence, I will give them a life in My presence forever. So I shall give everyone what they are looking forward to".

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

The Hymn we are going to sing, #385, reflects the truth that we love Him, because He first loved us.

  • 'Tis not that I did choose Thee, for, Lord, that could not be;

This heart would still refuse Thee, hadst Thou not chosen me.

Thou from the sin that stained me hast cleansed and set me free;

Of old Thou hast ordained me, that I should live to Thee.

  • 'Twas sovereign mercy called me and taught my opening mind;

The world had else enthralled me, to heavenly glories blind.

My heart owns none before Thee, for Thy rich grace I thirst;

This knowing, if I love Thee, Thou must have loved me first.

Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.