DEAF, DIM OR DISOBEDIENT?
Loving Father, incline my heart towards you today. As I seek you in your Word, I know you will find me.
Read Romans 10:14–21
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”[a]
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”[b] 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:
“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.”[c]
19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,
“I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;
I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”[d]
20 And Isaiah boldly says,
“I was found by those who did not seek me;
I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”[e]
21 But concerning Israel he says,
“All day long I have held out my hands
to a disobedient and obstinate people.”[f]
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.
ReflectSpend a moment thinking of your own journey to faith. How did it happen and who was involved?
Now we have a cascade of questions as Paul digs deeper into the mystery of belief and unbelief, laying bare again his passion for people to call on ‘the name of the Lord’ (v 13). It is clear that people will only call on God when someone, whom God has called, tells them of Jesus the Messiah. Maybe you are a preacher. If so, treasure that calling. God will touch lives through your words. If that doesn’t stir us to proclaim with urgency and passion, I don’t know what will! Proclamation: that’s today’s jigsaw piece.
But Israel turned away. Why? Were they deaf? Was it a hearing problem? ‘Of course not,’ says Paul. There had been plenty of preachers (v 18). So, were they dim? Did they not understand? Well, the Gentiles, with no spiritual background, got the message. No, the conclusion Is stark. Disobedience and obstinacy were the problem (v 21). They still are.
As we offer Christ to those who do not know him, we may be met with ridicule and rejection, and it always hurts. Think what it means to Christ, who is constantly holding out his nailed-pierced hands to an unbelieving world (v 21). Like him, we are called to keep going. He knows, he cares, and his purposes will not be thwarted.
With whom can you share God’s love today, trusting him for the outcome?
Gracious God, I am grateful your grace is greater than my sin. Make me an ambassador of this Good News to my neighbors and to the world.