Lessons from Elijah's Day
Lord, open the eyes of my heart to really engage with You and Your holy Word as I read it now.
Read ROMANS 11:1-10
 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.  God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah-how he appealed to God against Israel:  “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”?  And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”  So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.  And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.  What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened,  as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.”  And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them.  May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat is the key, operative word here (5,6)?
Did God reject Israel in Paul’s day? Paul insists that’s just not how God is. That’s how we might feel and even act, like Elijah when Israel rejected God (2,3). How do you feel when you experience rejection? Most of us feel very hurt and want to take some kind of revenge, if only by ignoring or ceasing to care about the person who has rejected us. But like Jesus on the cross when he said, “Father, forgive them…” (Luke 23:34a), God exercises mercy. Paul tells us that not all Jewish people rejected their Messiah; indeed many followed him right from the outset (see Acts 2:41, for example). Paul was an example of the many Israelites whom he calls “a remnant”—believers who follow whatever new thing God is doing in the world. They don’t deserve his mercy any more than we do, but God has reserved a number of them.
Ingratitude is incredibly unattractive. Many people, like Israel of old, think they can earn God’s favor, but find it impossible to accept what he has offered as a free gift (7-10). Paul quotes Deuteronomy 29:4 and Psalm 69:22,23 for words to express how he feels.
Reflect on the fact that you are an object of God’s grace. What difference has it made in your life?
As you turn to God now in prayer, decide what words you would use to express your gratitude to him.
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