For the scripture says to the king of Egypt, “I made you king in order to use you to show my power and to spread my fame over the whole world.”” (Romans 9:17, GNB)

I like the GNB translation here: “to spread my fame over the whole world.”  Pharoah spread God’s fame unwillingly and unwittingly, it is our privilege to spread the fame of Jesus throughout the whole earth in whatever community and culture in which the Lord puts us imperfectly, but very willingly.  This is why I like the purpose statement of Veritas Church, Fayetteville NC [Full Disclosure: My son is the pastor there.]: “Our mission is to make disciples who love God, love people, and advance the gospel for the city, for the military and for the fame of Jesus.”

Just so.

Here’s the thing, and it is as clear as a pike staff from Romans 9, everyone exists for the fame of Jesus, even those who oppose him with all of their being, as Pharoah did the God of Israel.  Our Lord is not constrained by those who hate and oppose him, any more than he is constrained by the weakness, sins, and shortcomings of those who love him.

Do I understand this?  No, I do not.  I get as far as I can and say with Paul:

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:33–36, ESV)