Do you ever resent people who are younger in the faith but seem to have more of God’s favor than you? Tell your heart to God.
Read Romans 9:30—10:21
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
10 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
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!”
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 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.”
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.”
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.”
21 But concerning Israel he says,
“All day long I have held out my hands
to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
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.
ReflectLook up the story in Matthew 20:1-16 for more thoughts on this topic.
The Jewish nation had been striving for centuries to live by God’s standards. Now, late in the day (Matt. 20:1–16), having done nothing to show that they were serious about God, Gentiles are being offered the same Good News with all of its benefits. The Gentiles seem to be accepting this outrageous generosity while Paul’s fellow Jews do not (9:30,31; 10:16). What is going on?
For the Jews, Christ seems to have become a stumbling block rather than the stepping-stone to the fulfillment of their hopes (9:32,33; 1 Cor. 1:23). I have occasionally tripped over things because my eyes have been focused on something else. Paul’s people have been focused on pursuing a right relationship with God through works rather than faith (9:32). This has seemed a far-off and endless pursuit. However, God’s gift of a right relationship with him has been right under their noses in the Good News that has been brought to them (10:8,18).
We can get caught in a similar mindset. Our walk with God can easily slip into being a gritted-teeth, long march of duty. We really do want to please God, but we overcomplicate things. Really it is a simple matter of faith and obedience (10:9,10).
Have you allowed yourself to become distracted with doing things for God instead of just getting to know him more?
“For all that has been, thank you. For all that is to come, Yes!” (Dag Hammarskjöld, 1905–1961). Lord, help me to make this my prayer today.
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