“Who are you, O man, to talk back to God?” (Romans 9:20).
If you’ve found it difficult to process and accept what Paul says in Romans 9 about the Sovereign Rule of God in Redemption, then think of how hard it was for the Israelites? Paul knew they would raise tough questions and resent him for presenting this message.
Paul anticipated their questions and raised them throughout his argument. Did God’s word fail? Paul says, “No.” Only if you made a selective reading of God’s word would you conclude that His word failed.
Is God unjust for loving Jacob and hating Esau? God is free to love whom He will. He’s also free to hate whom He will. No one is worthy of His love. He is not obligated to anyone. For example, God raised up Pharaoh for the purpose of displaying His power in him so that God’s name might be proclaimed in all the earth (verse 17).
If that’s true someone might argue, “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will” (verse 19)? Paul’s answer exposes the arrogance of the question: “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? ‘Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?”’”
The arrogance is in the fact that to question God’s sovereign choice is to put yourself over God and say to Him you are wiser and more just than He is. The logical question is, “By whose standard?” God has the right to show His wrath and power as He patiently deals with doomed sinners in order to set the stage for those who would be the objects and recipients of His mercy.
Our humble response should be to trust God to do His will; nothing more, nothing less.