Friday 22 April 2016

Bible Book:

“I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means!” (v. 1)

Romans 11:1-12 Friday 22 April 2016

Psalm: Psalm 76


Paul continues to reflect on Israel's relationship with God or,more specifically, the question of whether God has turned away fromIsrael. His answer is clear: "By no means!" Indeed Paul himself isan Israelite, living proof that this is not the case, and inwrestling with this Paul draws upon the idea of the remnant.Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures it is clear that there is never atime when the whole people are faithful to God, but that there isalways a faithful remnant. That remnant is now those Israeliteswho, like Paul, give their hearts to God through Christ.

But what of those who don't?

Paul argues that their hearts have been "hardened" (v. 7), andthe word that is used here might better be described as the callusthat forms round a fractured bone to help it mend. A callus ishard, to help the healing, but the part on which it grows becomesinsensitive, hardened. If people turn away from God for long enoughthen they become insensitive to God's word and even to God's love.Yet Paul is keen to point to the hope in this situation. First heargues that it is because of the hardness and insensitivity of theIsraelites to God's revelation that "salvation has come to theGentiles" (v. 11); the Israelites have played a part in opening thefloodgates of the experience of God's grace. Second he points againto the hope yet to be fulfilled, the time when all hearts will beopened and all are gathered in to God's embrace. We hear the echoesof earlier verses: nothing can defeat the love of God.

To Ponder

  • There are times we are more 'alive' to God's presence in theworld and times when God feels distant or more difficult todiscern. What causes you to feel numb or be less sensitive to thepresence of God around you?
  • When you do feel distant from God, what helps you to rememberthat God does not forget you?
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