For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. (Romans 9:17-18)
The Will Of God
Six crippling plagues had fallen upon Egypt. Through Moses God was showing His power to the Egyptian nation and its leader Pharaoh. The magicians of the king acknowledged the plagues raining down upon them was the finger of God. Pharaoh resisted. Prior to the seventh plague of hail Moses warned the king there was no god like Jehovah God. He told the people of the coming destruction and if the people did not heed the warning of the Lord both man and beast in the field will be struck down. There were some among the Egyptians that believed Moses and took their servants and livestock into houses. Many did not believe and died in the conflagration of hail. (See Exodus 9 for the full story).
The apostle Paul uses this story of power to emphasize a lesson of God’s mercy and grace. The Jewish nation had rejected Jesus as the Christ killing Him on the cross. As in the days of old when the nation was punished with captivity the Lord was expressing His great mercy to the people that were the apple of His eye. In the early days of the church a vast chasm divided the Jews and Gentiles in seeing the love of God was for all men. The Law of Moses was nailed to the cross and of no effect. This was hard for the Jews to embrace. The will of God was not based upon the will of man. Jehovah declared His glory through His will as He acted through men. It was His choice and His choice alone.
Jesus taught in the sermon on the mountain that most men will be lost. Paul’s illustration explains why. Everything accomplished by the Father shows His power, His mercy and His grace. He is not willing that any should perish. The destruction of those who reject His word shows His glory because like in the days of the seventh plague the message of salvation has been declared leaving man to make a choice. As in the days of Pharaoh there are those who believe the word of God and those who laugh it to scorn. Pharaoh did not believe the word but that did not change the word of God. The gospel message of salvation is given today and there are few who heed its word. When the final destruction comes upon man God will be glorified.
Hell is prepared for the devil and his angels. It is a most terrible thing. Ironically in the horror of the everlasting pit the mercy of God is found. How? Grace was given to all men through Jesus Christ. He was the sacrificial Lamb offered for the sins of all men and most men reject Jesus. There can be no other answer than destruction for those who fail to heed the grace of God. The power of God and the Name of God is declared in the blood of Jesus Christ. Rejecting this offering has eternal consequence. Jehovah will be glorified no matter what.
There is a God. The plants of the valley and the cedars of the mountains bless his name; the insect hums his praise; the elephant salutes him with the rising day; the bird glorifies him among the foliage; the lightning bespeaks his power, and the ocean declares his immensity. Man alone has said, “There is no God.” (Vicomte de Chateaubriand, The Genius of Christianity, 1802).