Did God Reject His People?
11 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written:
“God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see
and ears that could not hear, to this very day.”
9 And David says:
“May their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
and their backs be bent forever.”
11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!
13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
Paul and his questions: Since chapter 9 began:
Has God’s word failed? (Question is implied) 9:6
Is God unjust? 9:14
Why does God still blame us? 9:19
How can people believe?
How can people hear?
Have they not heard?
- Did God Reject His People?
Is it cheating to say that He redefines His people? The way for Israel to live in a manner pleasing to God has not nor ever will change.
- Paul and other Jewish people follow Jesus
Paul. The other Apostles. Jesus. James. Etc. Meeting in the temple and in the synagogues. Same Bible. Etc.
- Foreknowledge and confusion
God has foreknowledge. He is not confused. We do not have foreknowledge. We struggle understanding.
Salvation history is unfolded across time. Why? Because we are subject to time. And because of the concept of story.
- Historical example of remnants
We have already addressed this idea in Isaac vs. Eliezer and Ishmael.
You must be born of God, just like Isaac is born of God. There is the definite element of God’s choice!
John 1: 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Jesus to Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” We have made this into a mystical experience with God that changes our focus or identity in life. I don’t think it has to be mystical, it can be, but I think we can just decide that we will have as our personal identity that we are “in Christ”. We are following Jesus Christ. That is what I am about and who I am. That is what Jesus meant when talking to Nicodemus.
Jesus will be lifted up on the cross, just as the snake was in the wilderness and just as those in Moses day looked to the snake on a pole and were healed, those who look to Jesus on the Cross are healed from the penalty of their sin and are directed to trust in following His pathway to life today for life. We draw into fellowship with Christ!
- Remnants are Chosen by Grace v.5
In a sense, all this means is that God sets the definitions of life and what is healthy right and good. Since we are not on the same page as God, we will require grace in one form or another in order to have the life that He desires for us and that we need.
- Earnest work won’t work
Grace and Mercy by definition are not deserved. Working is true, fine and good as long as we separate out the issue of deserving from our work. Our work is a reflection of our faith. Our works will be incomplete. Compare your works to the true standard of God. Compare your works to Jesus’ works and His offer of exchange.
- Election by God is undeserved
Adam did not choose, Noah found grace, God takes the initiative with Abraham, God shows up in the burning bush to Moses etc. God’s people have always been God’s people at God’s initiative. All of our lives that are right and good are a reflection of God’s plan, initiative and love.
- History proves God’s Righteous Judgement
Psalms 51:1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
The Nation of Israel and Obedience:
More trouble than success.
At the giving of the Ten Commandments, they build a golden calf while Moses is away.
Wilderness testing. Over and over.
Spies give a bad report and all the adults die in the wilderness
Time of the Judges: Everyone does what is right in their own eyes. It’s an up and down experience.
Give us a King! Most of the Kings are bad.
David is king#2, Solomon king#3. That is the peak.
The people are idolatrous, and more bad kings than good. And they don’t follow the law. Read the prophets. They are mostly about the bad behavior of God’s people. Assyria carries off the northern ten tribes. Babylon destroys the wall and temple in Jerusalem.
They return to the Promised land under the Medes, the temple is rebuilt, the walls are rebuilt and they struggle to gain political independence for the rest of their existence.
John the Baptist breaks the prophetic silence, they don’t like Him, Jesus comes as the Messianic Prophet, Priest and King and they reject Him. In every aspect of these negative experiences, there are also people who believe. The believers are a remnant. God righteously judges those who will not follow Jesus as Messiah!
I Cor 10: For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.
III. Can Israel Be Saved?
Did the Jews stumble beyond recovery? No!!!! v.11
- If a Gentile can be saved, of course a Jew can
Maybe view this part of the conversation in the light of Paul’s experience in
Acts 13: 44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
- Salvation history is Jewish
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, all the Judges Samuel, Elijah and Elisha, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc.
The root of the tree. (The root remains holy)
First lump of dough. (The yeast is not there, it’s good)
We are talking about branches, not the root or trunk of the tree. Gentiles are grafted in, and it is God’s will.
Read about the righteous branch
Jeremiah 23: “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. 2 Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. 3 “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.
5 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Savior.
11 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
- Everybody be humble!
You are not the vine, you are the branch that the vine feeds that bears fruit!
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
I Cor 4:6-7 (To a church that is proud and competitive!)
6 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?