Continue to work in and with me Lord, because I love you, and desire to serve you fully.
Read Romans 11:1–10
The Remnant of Israel
11 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”[a]? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”[b] 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written:
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that could not see
and ears that could not hear,
to this very day.”[c]
9 And David says:
“May their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
and their backs be bent forever.”[d]
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectBefore you read today, will you call to mind the amazing grace of God in your life? Be specific. How has his grace touched you in the past week?
The questions just keep coming. Given Israel’s persistent unbelief, has God washed his hands of them? Paul is indignant. ‘Certainly not. Look at me! Rescued, as it were, from the very heart of the Jewish system’ (v 1). And there were others he could have named: Peter, James and John for instance. God never gives up. This now leads to four challenging words to be negotiated. Hold tight – and pick one to add to the jigsaw.
In every age, there has always been a minority who has believed. They are the remnant (v 5), those in whom God’s grace (v 6) has not met with the obdurate desire to earn his favor. Responding to that grace they show themselves to have been elected (v 7) into God’s family. And those left outside? Their persistent rejection of the way of faith has produced in them hardened hearts (v 7), a hardening which God confirms; it is a spiritual truth no longer being able to find a way past their carefully erected defenses.
If all this feels hard, don’t despair. Tomorrow, we shall see how God builds on this situation to fulfill his plan of redemption. For the moment, hold on to the central truth that God always acts in grace.
Thank God for his ‘amazing grace’ in your life, and know he will never wash his hands of you.
Dear Jesus, when I contemplate who you are, I am stunned into silence. But I cannot stay there: I want to shout words of praise. Hallelujah, how great you are.