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Romans 9:14-29

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Introduction
Would you open up your Bibles to please. Last week, Pastor Rich walked us through . He showed us how God’s blessing is not a human entitlement based on ethnicity or qualification, but upon faith in his Promise, which is ultimately faith in His Promised Son, Jesus Christ . We saw that “No one can lay claim to the promises of God that has not first been claimed by Christ on the cross.”
What this means for us is that God is not a respecter of persons–His grace and mercy invades hearts of all ethnicities and statuses. It is all His grace and calling that brings us into His family, and He is to be forever praised for this.
Romans 9:14–18 ESV
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
Now, we continue with a hard word in . May it continue to be true, as Pastor Rich said last week, that “A hard word in season can lead to a lifetime of grace.” I pray that would be true for us today. May we have hearts that are willing to trust God, even when His truth might be beyond our full comprehension. And may it drive us more and more to dependency on Him and His grace, knowing and agreeing with that “His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.”
Let’s pray.
Would you read with me.

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’

and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ”

26  “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’

there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ”

27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted,

q“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,

we would have been like Sodom

and become like Gomorrah.”

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’

and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ”

26  “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’

there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ”

27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted,

q“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,

we would have been like Sodom

and become like Gomorrah.”

Here’s the big idea in the text that we’re going to work through today–
Here’s the big idea today :

Only in God’s sovereignty are we saved, secured, and sent.

We see that God is sovereign – that is, He is in control.
Now we’re gonna look at four aspects of God’s sovereignty – His sovereign purpose, perspective, patience, and plan.

God’s sovereign Purpose – He is just in his ways. (v. 14-18)

Romans 9:14–18 ESV
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
This question is in response to v. 13, where God is the one who decided, in His good pleasure that Jacob, not Esau, would be the vehicle of God’s promised salvation in Jesus to those who believe.
The natural feeling and question when we hear that God has mercy on whom He has mercy, and compassion on whom he has compassion is to question God’s justice.
The natural feeling and question when we hear that God has mercy on whom He has mercy, and compassion on whom he has compassion is to question God’s justice.
It’s natural
Is there injustice on God’s part? Is God doing what is morally wrong? Is God fair?
I think another similar (maybe what we really mean) question is, “Is God fair?”
We find ourselves wanting to measure God by our measuring stick. But I wonder if us, as flawed, imperfect, sinful humans who constantly disobey the only One worthy of obedience, might not have the same measuring stick as God. We want to be the deciders of just-ness and righteousness, but that’s not really within our abilities.
One pastor notes, “ We are not holy enough to judge God’s holiness, wise enough to judge God’s wisdom, good enough to judge his goodness, all-seeing enough to judge his plan.”
One pastor notes, “God says that He is free to have mercy and harden however He wants. We are not holy enough to judge God’s holiness, wise enough to judge God’s wisdom, good enough to judge his goodness, all-seeing enough to judge his plan.”
So, do we measure God’s justice by our standards or by His Word?
Because human standards all throughout history waver and change. God and His perfect Word is the only unchangeable thing.
Deuteronomy 32:4 ESV
“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.
Another thing that clouds our ability to trust God’s justice has to do with our view of ourselves. Society tends to think of people as morally neutral, who then go throughout life making decisions to be ‘good’ or ‘evil.’ Therefore to hear that God “Will have mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills” (v. 18) makes us feel like God is pushing us down this path, either good or bad, that we didn’t intend to go. Therefore He is not just (acting right) for pushing us down a bad path.
The other thing that clouds our ability to deal with this has to do with our view of ourselves. Society tends to think of people as morally neutral, who then go throughout life making decisions to be ‘good’ or ‘evil.’ Therefore to hear that God “Will have mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills” (v. 18) makes us feel like God is pushing us down this path, either good or bad, that we didn’t intend to go. Thus, He is not just (acting right) for pushing us down a bad path.
Family, as we’ve seen throughout Romans, and throughout the Scriptures, that couldn’t be further than the truth. The Scriptures clearly point that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” () and that “there is none righteous, none who seeks God, all have turned aside...” (, ), and that we were all “dead in the trespasses and since in which we once walked...” ()
Romans 3:23 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and that “there is none righteous, none who seeks God, all have turned aside...” (, ),
So it’s not as if we’re morally neutral humans and God himself is sending us to damnation. (In fact, we’re going to look at God’s sovereign patience later.) We are broken and sinful by nature. To illustrate–
Romans 3:10–12 ESV
as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
My car has a significant drifting problem. Not like “Fast and the Furious” drifting where I slide around corners going 100mph, but a drifting problem where my car drifts off to the right, always. I set the steering wheel straight, but the moment I take my hands off of the wheel, my car fades off to the right. This is most likely because there is a wheel alignment problem. There is a fundamental flaw in the way my wheels are set up.
Likewise, humanity has a fundamental ‘heart alignment problem.’ See, we, too, like my car, have a fundamental drift towards sin and destruction and away from obedience and love for God. And this is our own doing – we have sinned, we have disobeyed God, we have chosen everything but Him, and we are at fault. We don’t even really want God’s mercy because we tend to think we don’t need it. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
And God would be just to not show mercy to any of us. Praise Him that isn’t the case. It’s important to realize that we are already on drift towards destruction.
Verse 17 talks of Pharoah, where God tells Him
Romans 9:17 ESV
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
We talk often about how God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, but we don’t acknowledge that all throughout that narrative Pharaoh is said to be hardening his own heart as well. One commentator notes,
“neither here nor anywhere else is God said to harden anyone who had not first hardened himself.”
–Morris, Romans, 361
Morris notes that “neither here nor anywhere else is God said to harden anyone who had not first hardened himself.”
Yet in the midst of Pharaoh’s sin and rebellion, God uses it for His purposes. He uses the hardening of Pharaoh to show His power and that His name would be proclaimed. (Power and Proclamation – always a Purpose)
The main reason I think we have difficulty with sovereignty though, is
The human feeling of injustice in God’s sovereignty is more of a cry from pain than a cry from justice. We all are quick to think about those we love, and wonder, what if God doesn’t see fit to save this person? What if He hardens, and doesn’t show mercy?
I say it’s a cry for pain more-so than from justice because of this simple reality – people don’t beef with God for being unjust because He saves people that don’t deserve to be saved. It’s the pain from the thought of loss, and that is real, and valid feelings – I don’t want to negate those feelings and fears.
But it’s not really
It’s important to remember that Paul, too, is writing from this stance of desire and pain.
We must remember that Paul, too, is writing from this stance of desire and pain.
Remember verse 2-3 “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers and sisters, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Paul grieved over the fact that many of the Israelites, as far as he could tell, were not responding to God’s grace and mercy in Jesus.
So Paul is not writing here detached from that. He knows the pain, and desires repentance.
Honestly, the only hope for the repentance of some is if verse 16 is true.
At
Romans 9:16 ESV
So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
If we are headed towards destruction on our own, incapable of coming to God in faith, then it must be God’s work to give us the gift of mercy and grace. We cannot save ourselves, it must be His doing.

God’s sovereign Perspective – We are His creation, and He is Creator (v. 19-21)

Romans 9:19–21 ESV
You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?
Paul anticipates that his audience is going to ask the question, “If Gods is sovereign, then why does He still find fault?”
This question has an air of accusation in it. They’re essentially implying that God is wrong in finding fault, since none can resist His will. They’re putting God on the witness stand for why He does what He does.
Paul simply responds, “Who are you, O man, to answer back to God?” It feels pretty harsh, and Paul doesn’t really answer the question. Apparently there was a bigger issue at hand.
There are times where God is willing to ‘reason’ with His people (), but apparently there was a bigger issue at hand.
In these accusations, the hearers forget who they are. They forget that God is the Creator, and they are His creation.
This may be a tough pill to swallow, but God does not OWE us an explanation for His ways. He is not obligated to explain Himself to us. There is a inequality of relationship between us and Him. And honestly, when we forget that is when we stray. God, as our Creator, has rights over his Creation.
Remember the garden? Sin entered the world essentially because God’s creation disregarded their Creator’s rights over them (in decreeing what to do or not do).
God’s response is that He is free to have mercy and harden however He wants. We are not holy enough to judge God’s holiness, wise enough to judge God’s wisdom, good enough to judge his goodness, all-seeing enough to judge his plan.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s a good thing for God to have rights over us?
Now, there are times where God is willing to ‘reason’ with His people (), and honestly – I think when we come to him in humility, He won’t ‘son’ us like Paul just did. I just think far too often, we come to him in a ‘you owe me an explanation, God’ posture, which isn’t right.
We have to realize how big God is, and how small we are…To illustrate,
Do any of you have kids? Have they ever asked you something that they’re not ready to hear the answer to? Perhaps it’s something sad, or difficult, or confusing beyond their capacity to understand, or you’re just not quite ready to have the “Where do babies come from?” question… What do you say? “I’ll tell you when you’re older.”
Perhaps God has some, “I’ll tell you when you’re older” answers of His own, too. Think about it – we do that with our own children, who are at least the same species as us , and we know they’re not ready or able for the answers to some questions. How much more than is it possible that God has some answers we’re not ready for or able to understand?
Habakkuk 1:5 ESV
“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.
The amazing thing, though, is that What we need to know, God makes known. What we don’t, He witholds. He’s told us of our need for Him, our need to come to trust in His Son for salvation, to surrender our lives to Him to have the only enduring, joy filled life. He’s told us.
God invites us to come in humility to Him in our confusion, pain, and sorrow – and He will not turn us away. But we come to God in those moments understanding that He is God. We are His creation, He is our Creator.
Now,
Now,
The New American Commentary: Romans 1. The Justice of Rejection (9:1–29)

If Paul had said nothing more on the subject, it would be reasonable to conclude that God exercises his absolute power in an unqualified sense. But Paul had not as yet given us the entire story. God is not an arbitrary despot who does what he wishes without regard for anyone or anything.

Here is our next point – 

God’s sovereign Patience – He desires repentance. (v. 22-24)

Romans 9:22–24 ESV
What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
Notice that God is both purposeful and patient. He displays his wrath and makes known His power against sin. Yet, at the same time, he “endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction...” (v. 22) To go back to the car analogy, it is the grace and mercy of God that He holds your wheel straight. He could just let you veer of the road into destruction, but He’s patient, and desiring you to come to surrender your life to Jesus.
The objects of wrath are not without great patience and pain on God’s part. If God is patient with them, there must be another perspective on this whole potter/clay thing in relation to God’s sovereignty. And it’s this:
God is sovereign over salvation in a way that doesn’t negate human responsibility for sin, nor our responsibility to repent.
God is sovereign over salvation in a way that doesn’t negate human responsibility for sin, and our responsibility to repent.
God is sovereign over salvation in a way that doesn’t negate human responsibility for sin, nor our responsibility to repent.
These are two truths we must hold in tension.
We already talked about how God is beyond our understanding.
But here are two Biblical truths that we can understand separately, and must hold in tension:
1. God is sovereign.
2. Humans are responsible for their sin, and are called to repent and trust Christ.
God’s control and sovereignty is not aimless. It is that He would make Himself known, in wrath to those who have rejected him (v22) and in glory to those who have received him (v23). He is just and righteous in both of those actions.
I don’t want to base a whole theology off of this, because I cannot be 100 percent sure, but it’s interesting to me to note that the vessels of wrath ‘prepared’ for destruction is a different ‘prepared’ in regards to the vessels of mercy.
The vessels of wrath are passively ‘prepared’ for destruction. The verb is passive here. They are, as one translation puts it, ‘maturing’ for destruction. God is enduring with them as their life and conduct are determining their own destiny. (Mounce, 203)
The vessels of mercy which he has prepared beforehand for glory is an active verb. God himself prepared them for glory. God himself was specially involved in their preparing for glory.
_____RIGHT SPOT FOR ABOVE PARAGRAPH???TRANSITION???______
Yet in the midst of God’s sovereign control,
The Scriptures are clear over and over again that we must turn from ourselves and turn to Jesus. If we do this, He will save us. One commentator notes,
The New American Commentary: Romans 1. The Justice of Rejection (9:1–29)

Even though God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, those who turn to him in faith, both Jew and Gentile, find themselves called by God. Far from being an arbitrary despot, God allows those who believe to take their place as “objects of his mercy.”

Those who turn to Christ are those who are called by Christ.
His sovereignty doesn’t mean that there could be some who desire Him that He rejects. There will be no person in hell who desired Jesus–Who wanted to repent, but God just stiff-arms and doesn’t allow to come. Sovereignty doesn’t mean this. “To all who receive Him, who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” ()
charges Israel to ‘choose this day whom you will serve’ (idols vs. the true and living God).
27 Times in the New Testament there’s a command to repent and turn to obedience to the Lord and His ways.
Those who turn to Christ are those who are called by Christ. Somehow sovereignty and human responsibility fit together.
Even in this section, we will see that – God says
Romans 10:21 ESV
But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
God has held out his hands to them. He is desiring their repentance. And if they did, they would be saved. is all about “how will they believe unless someone preaches to them?”…And “if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
That’s why the call in is still fitting for us today:
Hebrews 3:7–8 ESV
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness,
You are responsible to turn to Jesus in faith. Do not harden your hearts. This is what the Israelites did – by and large, they saw God’s works and despised them. We have seen God’s greatest work in Jesus. Do not despise Him. Turn, trust Jesus, and LIVE!
And with that responsibility to repent, and the truth that God operates sovereignly within this framework, you can rest assured
It’s also important to realize context – the apostle Paul was talking to people who were wondering if “the Word of God failed” (9:6), so in saying that He has called ‘not only Jews but also Gentiles’ (9:24), He is actually EXPANDING the reader’s understanding (not limiting) the understanding of to whom grace applies. (Gospel Transformation Bible)
There

God’s sovereign Plan – He is the hope for the world. (v. 25-29)

Romans 9:25–29 ESV
As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ” “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ” And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.”
Paul closes this section by speaking of the great grace of God to bring salvation to both Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews).
Paul closes this section by speaking of the great grace of God to bring salvation to both Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews).
Paul closes this section by speaking of the great grace of God to bring salvation to both Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews).
The miracle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that through Him, God makes those who are not His family, have no right to be his family, and have no abilities to become worthy of His family, His family.
He takes jacked up sinners from all over and makes them eternal sons and daughters. Eternal. Through forgiveness of sins and new life in Jesus Christ. Eternal. Can I tell you today that no sin you will forsake in obedience to Christ will compare with the worth of being His Eternal son or daughter.
This is what God does. He delights in showing mercy and making strangers family.
Don’t get it twisted, God will carry out His sentence on those who do not turn to him, because they are guilty of their sin and deserving of His wrath. (v. 28)
But he is patient. If you hear Him today, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEART TO HIS GRACE. Because though He is unfathomably patient, His patience will come to an end when He sees fit. But as long as it is today, do not harden your heart.
I want us to focus on this last verse here, verse 29
Romans 9:29 ESV
And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.”
If the Lord of host had not left us offspring, we would have been utterly destroyed; wiped off the face of the earth. ‘Left us offspring’ is really talking about God being faithful to His promise to Abraham, that through him all the earth would be blessed.
So in other words, the text is saying, “If God had not been faithful to His promises, we would be destroyed”
I wonder if any of us in here today’s life shouts this – If not for God’s sovereign faithfulness, we would be destroyed.
Have you experienced that? Has the gospel made you realized that – that if God had not taken the initiative to come to earth in humility as Jesus, live the perfect life that we could not live, and die the perfect sacrificial death for our sins to take our guilty sentence and declare us forgiven, that we would be utterly cut off from Him forever?!
We already know that if we were left to our own devices and freedom, NONE of us would repent. It’s only by His drawing and calling that dead people come to life.
What sovereignty means for us:
Because He is the One Who saves us, He is the One Who keeps us. If you are struggling in your faith, if you are stuck in some ongoing sin that you cannot seem to be free from –
I want you to lay claim to the promise of
Isaiah 42:3 ESV
a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.
God, in His mercy, through Jesus, promises that He will not blow out the faintest of candles, nor the most delicate reed. He is faithful to complete His work of salvation in you. I would encourage you to look to the church family, prayer, and the Word as means by which He might strengthen and grow you.
You cannot write off anyone as a candidate for God’s grace. You see, if God is sovereign in bringing people to Himself, then the unlikeliest to people to receive God’s grace are actually perfect candidates for His grace. God doesn’t save based on someone’s return on investment. He doesn’t save based on their abilities. His grace is crazy! You see,
If God were the captain of a basketball team, He wouldn’t just pick the people who are doing layup drills and shooting free throws. In fact, God doesn’t just go to the bench to see who’s just chillin by the water cooler and call them to His team. No, He’s even more mind blowing. What God does is that He actually steps outside of the court, and goes to people who don’t even know what basketball is, and throws a jersey on them, and says ‘your on my team.’
You see, God’s family is full of people who, when he approached them, didn’t even know what grace was, or His glory, or their sinfulness, but what did God do? God stepped in (check this–usually through the proclamation of His people), and awakened their hearts to His grace through clothing them with the Holy Spirit, and brought them into His family and on His mission by His own good pleasure. What a wonderful savior is He?!?
That means, the person that you think ‘they’ll never come to Jesus’ – is just as likely a candidate for the kingdom of heaven as the person you are more hopeful about. This should FUEL your desire for evangelism. If God is the One who works, not your ability to persuade, or have all the answers, or be the best debater, than you can go out and just tell people about the One who’s made you new, and trust Him with the outcomes. You have NO idea what He might be planning to do through you.
In closing on this text, I want us to seek rest in this truth–

God may not reveal everything in His mind, but He has revealed His heart.

There was only One who was prepared for wrath before the foundation of the world. Jesus. He was the One "delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.” () He is the “Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world.” () He was only One Who didn’t deserve God’s punishment, yet He endured it for our sake–that we might be saved. And in this is His gospel love. As says, “not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the satisfaction of God’s wrath against our sin.” He shows His love in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. () This promise of life is available to all who would turn from their sins and surrender to Him.
(where to put this —> there is One who was Predestined for destruction before the foundation of the world)
So today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart to His Son. Receive His grace. Let’s pray.
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