TAKE MY HAND
Loving Father, incline my heart toward 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.
‘Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”’1
How will they hear? How can they believe? How can they get to understand about Jesus… unless someone tells them (v 14)? We can’t help but hear the voice of Paul the evangelist here – but there’s more. As he speaks, he wrestles with this question of Israel’s unbelief on the big, wide scale of Israel’s relationship with God through their history (v 16). Teachings from the breadth of Scripture – the Law, the Prophets, and the writings – impregnate his thinking.
We might ask similar questions of the un-evangelized in our world today. For the Israelites, the message of Jesus the Messiah was always present in the words of God’s prophets. ‘Good news’, wrote Isaiah2 of the rescue promised for the exiles and – into the future – for the young church of Paul’s day (v 15) – and for us too. It may only take a ‘word about Christ’ for others to get the message (v 17). Are we willing to speak of him? For others through time, the voice of God has gone out into the world, clearly visible in creation.3 Amazingly, there are those who encounter him without knowing much about faith.
Some Jewish believers were angry and confused because God’s good news had been made available to others – those who weren’t ‘my people’ had been accepted into God’s family.4 Paul points out again that this had always been God’s good plan (vs 19,20). They should not react with anger and envy – like that jealous elder brother in the story5 – but should remember their long history with God: their repeated rebellion, God’s repeated, patient faithfulness in recall and forgiveness. Now, like a loving parent with a disobedient child, he patiently waits with outstretched arms (v 21). To us, too, as we sometimes look away from God, he calls to us, ‘Take my hand’.
Who do you know to whom God is holding out welcoming hands? How might you help them to respond to Jesus?
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.
1 Isa 6:8 2 see Isa 52:7 3 Rom 1:20 4 Rom 9:25,26 5 Luke 15:25–32
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