Replying against God
O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus? Rom. 9:20
This expostulation was raised against those who objected to God's sovereignty in salvation. Those who charge God with injustice for loving Jacob and hating Esau, for showing mercy to whom he willed and hardening those whom he willed (12-16), such folks fail to understand the reality of God's independence and sovereignty over all things. The apostle is arguing that we err when we exalt man's glory above God's glory (17).
But this is something we need to hear on multiple levels. How often do we reply against God? How often do we complain that he is being unjust or uncaring in the ways of his providence over us? Can we say that we have never been bitter against God? When we have been disappointed, do we take this as a reason against trusting in God's good purpose toward us?
In the face of our objections and complaints, let us remember what we are doing. We who are mere men - "O man" - how can we charge God with injustice? What right do we have in lodging a complaint against our Maker and Creator? With what wisdom are we assailing God only wise? Let us remember that God is God and we are not.
Often our fundamental problem when we are dissatisfied with God's care of us is that we have forgotten who we are and who God is. Instead of charging God, let us humble ourselves before him and trust in him - the God who has all wisdom and all power, who is eternal and unchangeable, and who comes to us in sovereign mercy to bestow eternally the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy (23). Let us not seek to pursue our glory but in faith to respond to God's mercy in Christ who gives us his glory and grace.