Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Romans 11 - Has God Rejected Israel?

by Katrina

LINK: Romans 11

BACKGROUND
So has God rejected the Jews??? Is He finished with the nation of Israel?? Paul answers with an emphatic, "NO!" So, what's the deal? That's what this chapter is all about.

Although the nation of Israel as a group had not been faithful to God, God has always had a remnant of believing Jews. By God's grace, many Jews have faith in Him and are thereby saved. But God wants more Jews to believe, so He disciplined them as sons. (We read about many of those occasions last year in our journey through the prophets.) And finally, He disciplined them by making the same salvation available to the Gentiles. This, of course, made the Jews very jealous. Their hearts are hardened toward God during this "time of the Gentiles," but this time will be followed by great belief among the Jews. God still loves the Jewish people as His own, and although they are now disobedient, God will show them mercy. In the same way, God has shown mercy to multitudes of disobedient Gentiles.

REFLECTION/APPLICATION
Paul illustrates the relationship of the Gentile believer to the Jewish nation as a wild branch grafted into an olive tree in verses 16-24. What are the benefits and responsibilities of being "grafted in"? What should be a Gentile Christian's attitude toward Jews? What warning is given to the Gentile believers?

You may be interested in exploring some ministries geared toward sharing the gospel with Jews. Here are two good ones that I know of: Jews for Jesus and Friends of Israel.

PRAYER
Lord, we don't understand Your ways or why You do things the way you do. Your wisdom is way beyond our understanding. We can't understand Your mind or presume to teach you anything. We have nothing to offer You. Yet you offer us everything! You make us rich recipients of Your great mercy and love. You gave us the salvation of our souls even though we were Your enemies. You grafted us in to Your plan and Your work. There is no reason to praise us for anything, for You did it all Yourself. All good things are from You, and through You, and to You. May You receive glory forever, amen!
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