Monday, January 29, 2024

2024.01.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 11:7–10

Read Romans 11:7–10

Questions from the Scripture text: With what question does Romans 11:7 begin? What hasn’t the nation of Israel obtained? But which Israel has obtained it? And what has happened to the rest? What had told about this already (Romans 11:8a)? Who gave them over to what (verse 8b, cf. Isaiah 29:10)? Of what did this stupor consist (Romans 11:8c–d, cf. Isaiah 6:9–10)? When does the apostle say that this continued to happen (Romans 11:8e)? Whom does he quote now in Romans 11:9 (cf. Psalm 69:22–23? Who had written that Psalm about whom? How does it relate to Isaiah 6:9–10?

What has happened to Israel? Romans 11:7–10 prepares us for the sermon in the midweek prayer meeting. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the blinded are receiving, even by hearing the Word, as they deserved for rejecting God and His Anointed (Christ). 

Israel vs Elect Israel, Romans 11:7. Back in Romans 9:6, the apostle’s first explanation for so many Israelites not being saved was that “they are not all Israel who are of Israel.” Now, Romans 11:7 clarifies the distinction: Israel (the nation generally) has not obtained what it seeks, but the elect (the Israel of promise, cf. Romans 9:8) have obtained it. Election is the difference-maker—not heredity, not effort, not sincerity, nothing at all in the man himself. The difference is unearned, contra-deserved, “election of grace” (cf. Romans 11:5). 

God Intentionally Hardening the Blind in Their Blindness, Romans 11:8. Apart from election, “the rest were blinded” (Romans 11:7). This is true of every sinner. Apart from electing, redeeming grace, they have an incurable blindness. Even the same Word that God uses to give faith to the elect (cf. Romans 10:14–17) actually solidifies (hardens!) the blindness of sinners apart from grace. 

The apostle now quotes from the woe upon Jerusalem in Isaiah 29. There, He calls them Ariel (lion of God), but announces that both they and their preachers are spiritually blind and spiritually drunk (cf. Isaiah 29:9), because YHWH has (righteously, of course!) poured out upon them a spirit of stupor (Romans 11:8, cf. Isaiah 29:10). The next two lines of Romans 11:8 quote from Isaiah 6, where the prophet is told that his ministry of the Word will actually harden Israel (verse 8c–d, cf. Isaiah 6:9). God intentionally, and righteously, blinds the reprobate. Let those whom He brings to faith remember that this is what they deserved for Him to do to them as well.

God Righteously Hardening the Blind in Their Blindness, Romans 11:9-10. How can it be right for God to give them over to such a thing? It is what they rightly deserve for rejecting Him and His Anointed. The apostle now quotes from Psalm 69:22–23. In that Psalm, the Lord’s anointed (David) is overwhelmed by enemies, and he sings and prays Romans 11:9-10 (among other things). For the Israelite, food on their table was to be received as an indication of God’s favor. In this case, those who hated David were self-deceived to think that they had the favor of God. Many today, not understanding the things that we have seen in the last several passages, think of ethnic Israel as being a nation under the special favor of God. But just as Elijah had prayed in Romans 11:3 (cf. 1Kings 19:10, 1Kings 19:14), so now David from Psalm 69 prayed against Israel as a nation for their rejection of the Lord. 

In this, David was a type (a divinely appointed forerunner and example) of Christ. It was righteous of God, on account of their rejection of His Anointed, to give them over to self-deception to believe that they were under God’s blessing when they were not. And yet, there is grace in God to be righteous and to redeem at the same time. And we will see the apostle’s right response to that and imitation of that in the next passage. But for now, let us just consider that it is righteous of God to harden the unbeliever. It is righteous of God to act always for the sake of His Son, His Anointed (cf. Psalm 2). So, let us trust in that Son and be saved from the hardening and wrath that we so rightly deserve!

If you are a believer, what has made that difference? What might God intentionally, righteously have done instead? What does His mercy toward you encourage you to pray and hope for others? 

Sample prayer:  Father, thank You for Your eternal, electing love, in which You determined to save us from our sin. Thank You for taking away our blindness and deafness. Please spare those dear ones of ours who have thus far rejected Christ. Indeed, grant that a great multitude from the nation of Israel would be saved by Your grace, through faith in Christ, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP69C “O Let Their Table Be a Snare” or TPH517 “I Know Whom I Have Believed” 

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