“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. You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?’ But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” (Romans 9:17-21).
Because God raised up the Pharaoh and used him for the purpose of delivering His people (and thus kept His word by acting righteously), did God have any future obligation to him?
As the king of Egypt and his army were drowning in the Red Sea, could he rightly charge God with being unrighteous? Since God had raised Pharaoh up to show His power in him so that His name would be declared in all the earth and since Jehovah gave him ten opportunities to repent instead of hardening his heart to God’s word and will, is God in any way culpable for Pharaoh’s demise?
If Pharaoh had met God’s conditions of mercy, Jehovah would have gladly and freely been merciful to him, but Pharaoh refused. He resisted God’s will. He repeatedly hardened his heart when Moses proclaimed to him God’s word. Is this God’s fault?
Who does Pharaoh think he is? Blaming God for your own stubborn refusal to obey His will is not God’s fault. This is true, regardless of whether you’re an obstinate Gentile ruler in Moses’ day or a hardheaded Jew who rejects the gospel of God’s grace in Paul’s day. The clay does not tell the potter what he can or cannot do.
God raised up the physical seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be the links in the Messiah’s genealogical pedigree. Just as Jehovah had no future obligation to the hardhearted Pharaoh once His redemptive purposes via Moses had been fulfilled, so God has no future obligation to the hardhearted Jews once His redemptive purposes via the Messiah had been fulfilled.
As Jesus explained in the final week of His ministry (Matthew 21:33-44), a certain landowner (God) had sent numerous servants (prophets) to Israel, and they had been rejected, beaten, killed, and stoned. Finally, the landowner sent his son (Jesus) to them. They took Him, cast Him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Therefore, Jesus concludes, “the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder” (Matthew 21:43-44).
“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42).
Jesus is either your life’s rejected stone or chief cornerstone. Like the Jews of Paul’s day, you get to decide which He will be for you.