There Remains A People
Heavenly Father, You are the hope of all who seek You, the joy of all who find You. I bow before You.
Read Romans 11:1-10
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.
“In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant … of his people” (Isa. 11:11).
God has not abandoned his people. In Elijah’s day, in spite of Israel’s murderous hostility toward his prophets, the Lord had still a “full” remnant (7,000) among his people. It remained so in Paul’s time; he himself being one of them. The key is remembering that not all Israelites belong to Israel, and that true Israel has always been defined by God’s gracious mercy. So, yes, of course, God’s promises and election stand. For even when the bulk of the nation pursued idols, there were always some who, through faith, participated in his elective mercy. Paul’s shorthand designates them the elect.
What about the rest? God honored their idolatrous choices by giving them over to, and making them in, the very image of the gods they worshiped. They became as sleepy, blind, and deaf as the lifeless images themselves. Those Jews who rejected Jesus, David’s true son, continued the same pattern into Paul’s day (c.f. 2 Cor. 3:14,15). With chilling logic Paul observes that David’s terrible invocation against his enemies now falls on them (Psa. 69:22,23).
This is serious. If Christ is indeed God’s final word, to reject him is to reject God himself. Tragically, over the years certain Christians and many who were Christian in name only, have taken words like these and used them to justify all kinds of slander against “the Jews.” This is hardly in the spirit of Paul who, imitating the Jesus he followed, began this section by stating his deep anguish for his people (9:1,2). But neither must Christians automatically affirm everything that modern Israel does. What it does mean is that our response to Israel’s situation, shockingly rebellious as it is, should be one of earnest and compassionate prayer.
Ask God to grant you the same tenderness of heart toward his people as he has shown toward us, and pray for them.
Loving Lord, I pray for Israel, that there will be many Jews who will turn to You. May their blindness be removed so they see Jesus as Messiah.
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