Today’s Reading: Romans 9-11
If you are looking to have everything explained logically and fully, then I need to tell you up front that I can’t! There are some things which are beyond my understanding. God Himself, says in Isaiah (which we have read already!) “My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts …” (higher than the heavens…)! (Isaiah 55:9). And Paul explains that in God’s sovereignty, He chose certain ones and rejected others! I can hear myself whispering, “That’s not fair!” But later on Paul points out that “the word of salvation is near you – in your mouth and in your heart!” (so it’s not beyond my reach!). Because it is our responsibility to do two things: 1) confess with our mouth “Jesus is Lord” (my Lord) and 2) believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead.” But what beautiful blessing and surety – God promises that I am saved if I do these two things! – It’s my responsibility to do these TWO things! But we say, “It’s either that He chooses me (so I don’t get to choose), or I get to choose (and He doesn’t!). Can’t explain it, but the two exist together! I guess as I grow older and understand HOW MANY things I can’t understand (I’m not God), that I am content to accept God at His word! But I can only say what joy fills my heart when I think of Him choosing me – it is such a very special thing to me! And what security it brings into my life to know that nothing will ever separate me from Him!
But I can understand how the Jews would be so jealous of being the people of God and that it was unthinkable that the Gentiles would have any part in this blessing! They thought they were righteous because they professed to keep the law! And when I look into my life to see how careful I am and how much I really do God’s will with no other motive but dedication to Himself alone, I cringe! I am like them – seeking to earn righteousness in my own way! But what I hear Paul so earnestly saying is that righteousness before God is through faith, through God’s promise and bestowed according to His sovereign will! I have heard this idea liken to a story about two people in a burning building, and both were begged to come out of the building but refused flatly! Then someone reached out and dragged one of the people out of the burning building and the other who is injured grumbles that it isn’t fair that the first one was chosen! Opportunity, they both had and both refused, but then one was chosen! But I don’t think this adequately explains about what we are talking?
One thing I value about Paul was his burdened heart to see his people saved, especially since they were originally the people of God! Do I have that kind of heart for the people (created by God!) around me every day? Paul asks the searching question, “How will they hear without someone preaching (telling?) them. But the question for me is, “How will they preach (tell the good news) unless they are sent? Am I not sent by my Saviour with His message? Interesting that it’s the FEET of those who bring good news – NOT the mouth – if you know what I mean, but maybe I make too much out of the text!
And Paul carries on to point out that although Elijah didn’t know it and thought he was the only person, God had lots more! So it’s so satisfying to find my brothers and sisters around me every day in life!
I’m a Gentile, so maybe don’t understand that the Jews’ failing has brought me such a great salvation! And then Paul asks me the intriguing question that if such tremendous blessing came to me through the Jews’ failure, what kind of blessing will come out of God’s people finally turning back to Him! And what follows is the warning to be careful not to fall into the fault of not appreciating the blessing come to me, the Gentile!
God is impartial and desires to pour out His great heart of blessing on ALL, so when we all failed, it gave Him the opportunity to do so! And I have been moved to tears in the past as I pondered Paul’s song of praise as he was overcome with these thoughts:
Oh, the depth of riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
Yes, Amen indeed!