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Romans 11:28-29

The Beloved Enemies

28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

That the Jews rejected the gospel is an obvious and established fact. Because of their rejection they are the enemies of God. They hate His Son Jesus Christ and they hate His people who follow the Son. Their rejection of the gospel has made them subject to God's wrath and many of them will not be saved.

It was shown earlier by Paul that, when the Jews turned from the truth, he took the message to the Gentiles. Their rejection of the gospel caused the prophesies of the Gentiles coming to Christ to be fulfilled. So Paul is speaking to the Gentiles at Rome when he says, "...they are enemies for your sakes." God was able to use the circumstances of the Jewish rebellion against Christ as the tool for bringing in the Gentiles.

"But as touching the election..." Concerning God's choice of the nation to be His people, or concerning the patriarchs whom God had chosen to father the nation, Israel was still His beloved nation. That does not mean that He approved of their sinful conduct or that they could be His people in any other way than by the acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah. In fact, we spoke in our study of the previous verses about the fact that Paul foresaw a coming day when there would be a great awakening among the people of Israel.

It is for the sake of the fathers that they are still God's beloved. "But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt... Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day." (Deuteronomy 7:8; 10:15) God had given His word to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob concerning His love for the nation and that love would not change.

"For the gifts," all the blessings, including His promises, that God bestows on sinners who do not deserve them, "are without repentance." They are irrevocable. Even God Himself would not consider changing them.

"...and the calling of God..." The invitation for sinners to repent and turn to God, the invitation to believe the gospel and accept the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died to save us from our sins, is irrevocable. The calling of God itself carries with it great promises, which will always be there for the taking when the sinner repents.

So the nation of Israel is the enemy of God for the sake of the Gentiles but they are still His beloved because He chose them and made promises concerning them to their forefathers. His call to them to repent still stands, and His promises are still available.

Israel is no different than any other people group. We are all God's beloved enemies. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Jesus said, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." The call is irrevocable. He is waiting for your response.

Before The Throne:

Have you heard the call? Pray about it. Have you responded to the call? Pray about it. If you feel alienated from God, ask Him to convince you that, in spite of all your sins, He has not abandoned you. Sometimes we abandon ourselves to sin, but God never gives up on you. His call is irrevocable. Thank Him for being with you through both the good and the bad times. Take the time to just be still and feel His love.

For Further Study:

** are enemies. Matt 21:43; Acts 13:45-46; Acts 14:2; Acts 18:6; 1Thess 2:15-16; ** but. Isa 41:8-9; ** are beloved. Gen 26:4; Gen 28:14; Lev 26:40-42; Deut 4:31; Deut 7:7-:8; Deut 8:18; Deut 9:5; Deut 10:15; Ps 105:8-11; Jer 31:3; Mic 7:20; Luke 1:54, 68-75;

(v.29) ** Num 23:19; Hos 13:14; Mal 3:6;

Romans 11:26-27

My Covenant

26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

After the fullness of the Gentiles come in, the blindness of Israel shall be lifted "And so all Israel shall be saved..." All Israel will come to the saving knowledge and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as their true Messiah. This has been interpreted in several different ways.

First, there is the idea that every member of the nation of Israel who remains unconverted up to the time of the fulness of the Gentiles will be saved. H. Meyer wrote, " This notion, so definitely expressed, of the totality of the people is in no way to be limited; the whole of those are intended, who, at the time that the fulness of the Gentiles shall have come in, will compose Israel." This does not seem correct since Paul has already shown that many have been rejected for their unbelief.

Another notion held by some is that this refers only to those who are in that spiritual Israel when the fulness of the Gentiles is come will be saved. This idea would seem redundant, since Paul has already stated that they would be saved.

A more reasonable interpretation is that the nation of Israel as a whole will be saved, but that does not mean every individual person. Those who advocate this concept cite passages like 2Chronicles 12:1 where it speaks of Rehoboam, "...he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him." There it means the nation as a whole, but not every single individual. We would therefore expect a great awakening to occur among the people of Israel, including the ten lost tribes, in which the majority of them would come to believe in Jesus as their true Messiah.

To support his argument, Paul quotes parts of Isaiah 59:20-21, "And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever."

Zion was one of the names of Jerusalem, the city of David, and was also a term for God's people, the church. It was there that the Deliverer was prophesied to rise up among God's people, to be born from among them, to rule over them, and to be their salvation.

"For this is my covenant etc." Paul seems to combine Isaiah 59:20-21 with the first and last lines of Jeremiah 31:33-34. To Paul, this was just further evidence that God's word, in which he and all the Apostles trusted completely, would not fail.

God's word is full of wonderful promises for each of us, whether we are Gentiles or the people of Israel, and we should trust them explicitly. Jesus said, "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Matthew 5:18) Every promise will stand until they are all fulfilled. That is our hope and living by them is the evidence of our faith.

Before The Throne:

Which of God's promises do you need to rely upon today? Perhaps you need to pray about
Philippians 4:19 "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." What do you need today, comfort, understanding, courage, love..? Whatever it is, pray about it and trust Him without wavering for an answer.

For Further Study

** all. Isa 11:11-16; Isa 45:17; Isa 54:6-10; Jer 3:17-23; Jer 30:17-22; Jer 31:31-37; Jer 32:37-41; Jer 33:24-26; Ezek 34:22-31; Ezek 37:21-28; Ezek 39:25-29; Ezek 40:1-48; Hos 3:5; Joel 3:16-21; Amos 9:14-15; Mic 7:15-20; Zeph 3:12-20; Zech 10:6-12; ** There. Ps 14:7; Ps 106:47; Isa 59:20; ** and shall. Matt 1:21; Acts 3:26; Titus 2:14;

(v.27) ** this. Isa 55:3; Isa 59:21; Jer 31:31-34; Jer 32:38-40; Heb 8:8-12; Heb 10:16; ** when. Isa 27:9; Isa 43:25; Jer 50:20; Ezek 36:25-29; Hos 14:2; John 1:29;

Romans 11:25

The Mystery Revealed

25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

As Paul prepares to close this portion of his letter (11:25-32), he uses the phrase, "I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant..." This language is common to Paul's writing in which the word "brethren" does not necessarily express any intimacy or affection. It's use is more of a formality but it is usually added by Paul in order to emphasize a fundamental truth.

He wants his readers to understand the "mystery." In the Roman culture the word "mystery" was often used in relation to the numerous cults. Those ancient mysterious religions had many secrets, which only the initiated members were privileged to know. Those mysteries were so well guarded that even today we do not know much about some of those cults.

In the New Testament, however, the mystery of which Paul speaks is not the hidden secrets of God, but in all twenty-one instances where he uses the word it is always about the "revealed mystery" of His sovereign government.

"It is therefore used in reference to all the doctrines of the gospel which are not the truths of reason, but matters of divine revelation; Rom 16:25; 1Co 2:7; 1Co 4:1; Eph 6:19, etc. Hence ministers are called stewards of the mysteries (i.e., of the revelations) of God. It is also used of some one doctrine, considered as previously unknown and undiscoverable by human reason, however simple and intelligible in its own nature. Thus, the fact that the Gentiles should be admitted into the church of God, Paul calls a mystery, Eph 1:9; Eph 3:4. Any future event, therefore, which could be known only by divine revelation, is a mystery. The fact that all should not die, though all should be changed, was a mystery, 1Co 15:51. In like manner, here, when Paul says, “I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery,” he means to say, that the event to which he referred, was one which, depending on no secondary cause, but on the divine purpose, could be known only by divine revelation" (Hodge, Charles; Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and 1 Corinthians; The Word Bible Study Software.)

Paul did not want His readers, which were both Gentile and Jewish Christians, to be ignorant of the revealed mystery, which is an eschatological one involving God's plan for His church.

Without understanding God's plan, the Gentiles might become wise in their own conceits. They might begin to think that they knew more about these things than anyone else. Perhaps they would begin to look down on the poor ignorant Jews who were blinded to the truths of God's word. They might even begin to think that there was no hope for the Jews except for the small remnant that had already been saved.

No one should think that the blindness of Israel, particularly the Jewish people, was a complete and final condition. Blindness or hardness of heart had only come over them in part. This could mean that they had not completely turned away from God. They still believed in Him and attempted to live by His law, but relied on their own righteousness for their salvation. It was their rejection of their own Messiah and their self-righteousness that covered them in total darkness, but there was still hope for them to see the gospel light.

It could also mean that only part of them were blinded to the truth. There was a remnant that was saved and are still being saved to this day, but the largest majority of them were still blinded to the truth.

The revealed mystery that all should know is that their blindness is only temporary. It will only last until the fulness of the Gentiles has come into the church. When God's work among the Gentiles is finished, and everyone is saved that should be saved, the cloak of darkness will be lifted from the eyes of Israel.

Before The Throne:

I would suppose that there is no one alive who understands all of the things that God has planned for us. They are too marvelous for us to imagine, but we should pray that God would reveal to us those things from His word that we need to understand. Pray that He will open your eyes as you read the scriptures. Ask Him to prevent you from becoming wise in your own conceits and confess those times when that has been the case. Pray that He would help you apply His word to every aspect of your life and that He would mold you into the person He wants you to be.

For Further Study:

** I would. Ps 107:43; Hos 14:9; 1Cor 10:1; 1Cor 12:1; 2Pet 3:8; ** this. Rom 16:25; Eph 3:3-4, 9; Rev 10:7; ** lest. Rom 12:16; Prov 3:5-7; Prov 26:12, 16; Isa 5:21; ** blindness. 2Cor 3:14-16; ** until. Ps 22:27; Ps 72:8-14, 17; Ps 127:1; Isa 2:1-8; Isa 60:1-22; Isa 66:18-23; Mic 4:1-2; Zech 8:20-23; Zech 14:9-21; Luke 21:24; Rev 7:9; Rev 11:15; Rev 20:2-4;

Romans 11:22-24

Behold His Goodness!

22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?

Following the warning that God could also break off the branches of the Gentiles, just as He had broken off those of the majority of the Jews (v.21), Paul asks the Gentiles to observe the sovereign power of God. He is both good and severe.

"On them which fell, severity;" The word severity has a slightly different meaning in modern English than the Greek word wants to portray. It is not necessarily the harshness of God's ways that Paul wants to express, but the decisiveness. The Greek word comes from a root that means "to cut off." The Jewish nation fell from the tree, because it was cut off for its unbelief. The Gentiles needed to be aware of this decisiveness of God so that they would fear straying from the faith and would not begin to believe that they were grafted onto the branch because they were better in some way than the Jews.

Observing the goodness or kindness of God, on the other hand, should lead one to improve upon his or her spiritual life. The Christian Gentiles were also unbelievers before God sent His messengers to them. He had no obligation to graft them onto the tree of Israel. Thus, the very knowledge of His grace toward us should press us toward a life of obedience, humility and thanksgiving. Knowing that we have not done nor could have done anything to deserve our salvation should increase our faith in God and draw us closer to Him.

"...if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." This is not to say that they could lose their salvation, but that, if they did not continue in His goodness, the faith they had been given was not a saving faith. The Jews also had a kind of faith, but it was in the wrong things. It was in their own righteousness and in their own good works. To continue in God's goodness simply means that you continue to live in total dependence on His mercy and grace for your salvation. It refers to a faith that molds your entire life.

Verse 23 looks at God's power and authority from the reverse direction. He has cut off Israel for their unbelief but has the power to graft them in again, if they change and begin to believe. Unbelief is not an impossible obstacle to overcome in the future. We all begin as unbelievers but we can be changed into believers anytime before the moment of our death or of Christ's return.

Paul then explains that, if God has the power to do this unnatural act of grafting a branch from the wild olive tree (the Gentiles) onto the good tree (Israel), it would not be very difficult to graft the natural branches of the tree back onto it. This reflects Paul's continuous faith that his own people would eventually be saved.

"Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God;" is a good phrase for us to always keep in mind. It reminds us to remember who we are and where we would be without God's mercy and grace and also places a modicum of fear in our hearts lest we should ever be tempted to turn from the faith.

Before The Throne:

When you kneel before Him today, humbly acknowledge that you were lost in your sins and, except for His kindness, you would be headed for eternal damnation. How will you express your love for Him today? How will you continue in His goodness? Allow the Spirit to guide you as you answer those questions.

For Further Study:

** therefore. Rom 2:4-5; Rom 9:22-23; Num 14:18-22; Deut 32:39-43; Josh 23:15-16; Ps 58:10-11; Ps 78:49-52; Ps 136:15-22; Isa 66:14; ** if thou. Rom 2:7; Luke 8:15; John 8:31; John 15:4-10; Acts 11:23; Acts 14:22; 1Cor 15:2; Gal 6:9; 1Thess 3:5, 8; Heb 3:6, 14; Heb 10:23, 35-39; 1John 2:19; Jude 1:20-21; ** otherwise. Ezek 3:20; Ezek 18:24; Ezek 33:17-19; Matt 3:9-10; John 15:2; Rev 2:5;

(v.23) ** Zech 12:10; Matt 23:39; 2Cor 3:16;

Romans 11:19-21

A Little Humility, Please!

19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

People have the common tendency to compare themselves with other people. That might serve us well in our worldly endeavors but it does not please God. In this passage Paul continued his warning to the Gentiles. They should not think themselves superior to the Jews or that God preferred them over the Jews.

"Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in." The egotistical thought that God's whole purpose for rejecting the Jews was to make room in His kingdom for the Gentiles is entirely repulsive. God is not a respecter of persons.

"Well; because of unbelief they were broken off,.." Paul's reply to such thinking is this. He says "Well," or perhaps a better translation would be "Honestly." to tell the truth of the matter, there is only one way to please God and that is to have total faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

The downfall of the Jews was not God's preference for the Gentiles, but their own lack of faith. As Jesus told them, "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18) The Jews brought this calamity upon themselves and it had nothing to do with the Gentiles. Their utter rejection of the gospel, however, was the reason that the apostles began preaching to the Gentiles.

"...and thou standest by faith." The Gentiles became a part of the kingdom of God by their faith, which was also a gift from God. It is on that faith alone that the Gentiles or anyone of us can stand in the presence of God. This, however, must be a solid and immoveable faith, never wavering. It must be a faith that overcomes the world and endures till the end.

So, Paul said, "Be not highminded." They needed to get rid of their egotistical pride and remember that, but for the grace of God, they would never have been grafted onto the vine. True faith should produce humility, not pride. It should bring an understanding that Christ had to die for our depravity so that we could be saved; and that makes us no better than anyone else on this earth.

Faith should also cause us to fear. We should fear that our faith is not strong enough to endure. It should cause us to doubt ourselves, not God, to consider whether or not our lives reflect a true conviction in the atoning death and resurrection of our Lord. Such humility is acceptable to God, because it will cause us to live out our salvation.

Paul's conclusion is that the Gentiles should beware and fear that the same thing could happen to them that happened to the Jews. If they continued to stand on their own pride, or think that they were more deserving of God's grace than were the Jews, they could also be broken off like dead fruitless branches. By faith they would stand in God's presence and, by the lack of it, they could also be rejected.

This message is universal and transcends the barriers of time. It applies to you and I as much as it did to the first century Gentiles. It is very easy to allow our pride to get in the way of our faith. True faith produces humility and reverence, not pride and boasting.

Before The Throne:

It is good for us to examine our own faith as well as our faithfulness. Ask the Holy Spirit to examine your heart and to weed out the pride that dwells there. Then ask Him to show you where you have failed to be faithful to your beliefs. Confess the times that you have been critical of those who do not believe, as though you were better than them. Pray for the conversion of the people in your life who do not believe.

For Further Study:

** Well. John 4:17-18; Jas 2:19; * because. Rom 3:3; Acts 13:46-47; Acts 18:6; Heb 3:12, 19; Heb 4:6, 11; ** and. Rom 5:1-2; 2Chr 20:20; Isa 7:9; 1Cor 16:13; 2Cor 1:24; Col 2:7; 1Pet 5:9, 12; ** Be. Rom 12:16; Ps 138:6; Prov 28:26; Isa 2:11, 17; Hab 2:4; Zeph 3:11; Luke 18:14; 2Cor 10:5; 2Thess 2:4; 2Tim 3:3-5; Jas 4:6; 1Pet 5:5-6; Rev 3:17; Re 18:7; ** but. Prov 28:14; Isa 66:2; 1Cor 10:12; Phil 2:12; Heb 4:1; 1Pet 1:17;

** if God. Rom 8:32; Jer 25:29; Jer 49:12; 1Cor 10:1-12; 2Pet 2:4-9; Jude 1:5;

Romans 11:17-18

The Wild Olive

17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

Paul wanted the Gentiles to be careful not to be too full of themselves over the fact that they were now children of the kingdom while many Jews were excluded by their own unbelief. So he continues this horticultural analogy that he began in the previous verse. Both he and most of the people of Rome knew all about growing olive trees. It was probably common knowledge that you did not normally graft a branch from a wild olive tree onto a cultivated tree. You graft the good branch onto the wild olive tree.

"Your wild ('bad') olive trees may produce tiny fruit with big stones and a thin layer of bitter-tasting flesh but they have great root systems. So farmers have learnt to graft the productive branches (giving the best quality olives) onto the most effective root systems (able to access all of the plants needs) and so produce a highly productive tree which is able to grow well in poor conditions." (by Dan Metcalfe, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; 14 February 2011;

Thus, the Gentiles, being branches from the wild olive tree, were grafted in place of the branches of Israel that had been broken off. They therefore were partakers of the root (i.e. Abraham and his seed, Jesus Christ) and the fatness of the tree, but this was a highly irregular and unnatural procedure. It left them with nothing to brag about. A husbandman had to do the grafting; they could not graft themselves onto the tree.

This is consistent with the words of Jesus Himself who said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:1-5) Without Christ we are all, Gentiles and Jews, males and females, helpless.

The Gentiles are thus warned not to boast against the other branches, neither against the ones on the tree nor the ones that had been broken off. The people of Israel belonged on the tree. It was their natural place; the root was theirs.

"But if thou boast," We must insert two words to make sense of this sentence. "But if thou boast, (remember that) thou bearest not the root, but the root thee." Remember who holds you up. Remember how you got there. Remember that you do not belong in the kingdom of God, but by His mercy and grace you, the wild tree, were picked up and grafted onto the good tree and, without the root, you would still be dead in your sins.

Before The Throne:

Take the time to confess your sins of pride and ask for forgiveness. We are nothing but wild trees bearing bad fruit until God grafts us onto the good olive tree, which is spiritual Israel. Acknowledge your need to be fed and supported by the vine, Jesus Christ. Without Him you can do nothing, so ask God to help you bear good fruit for His kingdom.

For Further Study:

** some. Ps 80:11-16; Isa 6:13; Isa 27:11; Jer 11:16; Ezek 15:6-8; Matt 8:11-12; Matt 21:43; John 15:6; ** being. Acts 2:39; Gal 2:15; Eph 2:11-13; Eph 3:6; Col 2:13; ** among them. Deut 8:8; Judg 9:8-9; Ps 52:8; Zech 4:3; Jonah 1:16; Rev 11:4;

(v.18) ** Boast not. Rom 11:20; Rom 3:27; 1Kgs 20:11; Prov 16:18; Matt 26:33; Luke 18:9-11; 1Cor 10:12; ** thou bearest. Rom 4:16; Zech 8:20-23; John 10:16; Gal 3:29; Eph 2:19-20;

Romans 11:16

The Holy Ones

16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

Our past traditions and our old way of life influence the way we think today. In this sense Paul was no different from the rest of us. In his pre-Christian life, he was a Pharisee guided by the old Jewish laws and traditions of Israel. So it should not come to us as a surprise when he reverts back to those things for appropriate illustrations, which will help him explain the relationship between Jew and Gentile in eschatological Israel.

He begins by relying on a religious tradition practiced by both the Jews and the Gentiles. Both practiced the offering of the first fruits of the harvest to their gods. The Mosaic Law commanded, "Ye shall offer up a cake of the first of your dough for an heave offering: as ye do the heave offering of the threshingfloor, so shall ye heave it. Of the first of your dough ye shall give unto the LORD an heave offering in your generations. (Numbers 15:20-21)

A piece of dough was always broken off the main loaf, baked and given for an offering to the Lord. It was not permitted to eat from the dough until the first fruit was offered. The offering was holy and also made the rest of the dough, "the lump," acceptable to eat and holy.

Now Israel as a nation was made holy through the promises made to Abraham. Holiness, of course, can not be inherited, so the individual Israelite was not automatically made holy by being born into the nation. The first fruits, refers to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or perhaps only to Abraham. Since Abraham believed and it was accounted to him for righteousness, he is truly the first fruits that made the nation that descended from him holy. It was the nation as a whole, the seed of Abraham, that was set aside for God's purpose.

The second metaphor in this verse is open to a slightly wider interpretation than the first. Israel is often described as a vine or as an olive tree, as in Jeremiah 11:16, "The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken." The idea of "broken branches" leads us to the verses that we will study tomorrow. The Holy Nation of Israel, serving as the root of God's people, makes the branches that grow upon the tree, whether they are natural branches or grafted onto it, holy.

But we might also consider that out of Israel came another root, One that is truly holy. "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." (Isaiah 53: 2) The passage obviously refers to the Christ. He came into the world, born a Jew, at a time when the nation of Israel was all but dead. They were like dry ground that could not support the growth of anything holy, but Christ grew up as a tender plant to bring newness of life to the nation.

"And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious." (Isaiah 11:10) The Gentiles would seek the root of Jesse, the living Christ, and he would offer them a rest much greater than the rest Israel had received when she entered the Promised Land. Just as the root is holy, so are the branches.

God is not a respecter of persons. Every soul taken into His kingdom is holy, which means that they are set aside for His divine purpose. Gentiles and Jews are all on equal footing when they come to Christ, repent of their sins, and are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. He calls everyone to follow Him. He calls them by the testimony of those who are already a part of the vine. He calls them by the works of the branches that produce good fruit. Eschatological Israel is itself a miracle of God's wisdom and grace.

Before The Throne:

Stay attached to the tree. Pray continuously, without ceasing. Pray that God would help you to bear good fruit for the kingdom of heaven. Confess your prejudices toward other people and ask Him to remove them so that you can be an effective soul winner. Thank Him for making you holy through His Son Jesus Christ.

For Further Study:

** if the first-fruit. Exod 22:29; Exod 23:16, 19; Lev 23:10; Num 15:17-21; Deut 18:4; Deut 26:10; Neh 10:35-37; Prov 3:9; Ezek 44:30; Jas 1:18; Rev 14:4; ** and if. Gen 17:7; Jer 2:21; 1Cor 7:14;

Romans 11:13-15

I Magnify My Office

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. 15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

In the previous verse Paul asked, "Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?" This, as well as what preceded it, was directed at the Gentiles. Paul was commissioned to be the apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15) and thus he had the authority to preach to them in this manner.

"I magnify my office," This should probably be a new sentence and be attached to the next verse. "I honor my office, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy them which are my flesh, and might save some of them." If his work with the Gentiles would bring about a jealous reaction in the Jews to take another look at the gospel and be saved, it would be a blessing that would be an honor to the apostolic office, which he held.

In the Greek text, verse 14 is a first class conditional sentence, which means that the speaker assumes it to be true. Paul believed that his ministry to the Gentiles would have an effect on the salvation of the Jews. Thus it served two purposes... the redemption of all mankind and the redemption of a remnant of Israel.

It is not entirely clear what Paul intended by the phrase, "life from the dead." It could refer to the restoration of Israel, nation that has been rejected as spiritually dead but now restored through the salvation of a remnant. Or it could refer to the salvation of spiritual Israel (Rom. 9:6; 11:25-26), both Jews and Gentiles, being restored to a new life in Christ. But, it seems that most commentators think it to mean the resurrection life to be experienced at the second coming of our Lord.

At any rate, Paul demonstrates to us that the sincere Christian must have a driving desire to see the salvation of all men. The salvation of one leads to the salvation of others, not just by provoking others to jealousy but also by their testimony. We should be willing, therefore, to suffer all things for the propagation of the gospel. Every argument that can be thought of and every appeal possible should be used. Every format for the presentation of the gospel should be learned and every new idea for its presentation should be encouraged.

The Christian has the right to use any tool within our power to win the lost to Christ. Every legitimate tool, every truth, and every method that is neither cruel nor wicked can be used, if it will lead someone to see the truth of God's love. Truth is very often painful, often causes adverse reactions, and frequently brings attacks on the messenger, but we should not shy away from doing what God has called us to do. This is not to say that we can save anyone by our own power or devices alone, for salvation only comes by the regeneration of the Spirit through the election of God.

Before The Throne:

Pray that God will allow you to bring honor to the office of priest, which every Christian holds. Pray that He will give you every tool and method available for presenting the gospel to others. Thank Him for the opportunity to serve Him.

For Further Study:

** the apostle. Rom 15:16-19; Acts 9:15; Acts 13:2; Acts 22:21; Acts 26:17-18; Gal 1:16; Gal 2:2, 7-9; Eph 3:8; 1Tim 2:7; 2Tim 1:11-12

(v.14) ** by. 1Cor 7:16; 1Cor 9:20-22; 2Tim 2:10; ** my. Rom 9:3; Phlm 1:12; ** might. 1Cor 7:16; 1Tim 4:16; Jas 5:20;

(v.15) ** the reconciling. Rom 5:10; Dan 9:24; 2Cor 5:18-20; Eph 1:10; Col 1:20-21; ** but. Ezek 37:1-14; Rev 11:11; Rev 20:4-6;

Romans 11:12

Spiritual Wealth

12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

By the use of this purely rhetorical question, Paul now seems to be warning the Gentile readers not to think that their salvation was only a tool, which was being used to restore Israel to God's favor. The salvation of the Jews would not diminish in any way the blessings of the Gentiles.

"Now if the fall of them..." The literal meaning of the Greek word paraptoma is, "a side-slip; an unintentional error; or a willful transgression or trespass." It is usually interpreted to mean an offence or a trespass. The offence that is referred to by this verse is the unbelief of the people of Israel.

" the riches of the world." By "the riches" Paul meant the gospel and all of the blessings that come with it. The promise of eternal life, the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation and peace with God, the adoption as sons and the accompanying inheritance of the kingdom of heaven are certainly all very great riches. The unbelief of the Jews caused the riches of the gospel to be delivered to the people of the world, to everyone who was not a Jew.

"...and the diminishing of them..." This phrase has had many interpretations. Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament says, "Diminishing [ηττημα] . The literal translation. Rev. renders loss. Referring apparently to the diminution in numbers of the Jewish people. Other explanations are defeat, impoverishment, injury, minority." It seems like the diminished numbers of the Jews who were to be considered the true Israel is what Paul means here (See 9:8).

If their loss has resulted in such an overflowing abundance of spiritual wealth for the Gentiles, how much more wealth would their fulness bring. By "fulness," Paul means their repletion, their complete restoration.

Let us look at the circumstances of Israel today. They are scattered throughout the world. We do not know where the ten lost tribes of Israel are, but between them and the Jews, they must be in every country on earth. They also have the cumulative knowledge of every language in the world. They are the most stubborn, most resistant and most closed minded to the gospel of all the earth's people. Now, imagine that the Holy Spirit began to work among them, opening their eyes to see and their ears to hear. A great awakening among the people of Israel occurs and they begin spreading the gospel in every language, in every nation, and among every ethnic group on earth. What a testimony they would have! What a great wealth of blessings they could bring to all the peoples of the world!

It is in that context that Paul is asking the question, "Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?" There are preachers among us who have actually said that Christians should not try to convert the Jews. Their reasoning comes from some distorted eschatological beliefs that the Jews will be saved by some other method and in some other dispensation than the rest of the world. A good friend of mine would use the Greek word for this kind of thinking, "Hogwash!"

Paul looked forward to the nation of Israel being fully restored to the kingdom of God, but he knew that it could only be done one way... by the preaching of the gospel. Let's do it!

Before The Throne:

Have your thoughts toward the Jews been judgmental? Beg the Lord's forgiveness. They are ripe for the preaching of the gospel, ripe for the harvest, and ready for restoration to their former place in God's family. How can you help that happen? Pray asbout it. meanwhile, continue to spread the riches of God's truth to everyone you meet. Pray that God will give them eyes to see and ears to hear before you speak to them.

For Further Study:

** the world. Rom 9:23; Eph 3:8; Col 1:27; ** diminishing. Isa 11:11-16; Isa 12:1-6; Isa 60:1-22; Isa 66:8-20; Mic 4:1-2; Mic 5:7; Zech 2:11; Zech 8:20-23; Rev 11:15-19;

Romans 11:11

The Divine Plan

11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

This question was asked as an objection to the facts that Paul had just stated. "Have they stumbled that they should fall?" The question concerns the finality of their fall. Is there no remedy?

"The context sharpens the meanings of the words: ἔπταισαν (stumble) and πέσωσι (fall) thus contrasted = stumbled to their final ruin, though the two words are much more nearly synonymous in common use; ἔπταισαν (stumble) is also defined by the use of παράπτωμα (fall), a slip aside, a trespass, as it is suggested by σκάνδαλον (stumblingblock, in v.9)" (R. St. John Perry; The Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges, Vol. 7; The Word Bible Study Software.)

Is there then no hope for Israel? Paul's answer is, "God forbid!" (The Greek text says, "May it not be!") Their "fall" has a very broad meaning in this verse. It refers to their unbelief, their rejection of Christ, the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, their loss of their national status, the end of their sacrifices and other ceremonial rites and their dispersion among the other nations. All of this may have made any outside observer believe that there was no longer any hope for Israel. Paul wants to permanently dispel that idea. God will preserve a remnant for Himself but He has a purpose for what happened to Israel.

The complete and eternal loss of Israel was not God's intention. Instead, He used their fall to bring salvation to the nations (Gentiles). By that Paul does not mean that all Gentiles were saved but that the gospel was preached to them. The barrier between Israel and the nations was now broken down, and all had the opportunity to be adopted into the family of God by faith. This was accomplished by several factors.

When Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch in Pisidia, he warned the Jews there saying, "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles." (Acts 13:46) And when Paul was a prisoner in Rome, he summoned the Jewish leaders and told them, "Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it." (Acts 28:28) So we see that the hostility of the Jews toward the gospel compelled the apostles to focus their attention on the salvation of other nationalities.

Also, when the dispersion took place, the Jews, both the unbelievers and the Christians among them, were scattered among all the nations of the earth. Many Gentiles came to believe as a result of the testimony of those Jewish Christians.

The results of winning the Gentiles to Christ had as its purpose to provoke the Jews to jealousy so that they would once again desire to be part of God's chosen people. The whole of God's plan from the very beginning is not to replace the nation of Israel with the Gentiles but to be all inclusive, using one to accomplish the salvation of the other. "21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation." (Deuteronomy 32:21)

Isn't it wonderful how God has used the whole world as His stage to manipulate the history of nations and to gain for Himself a people that would be to His glory? What a show He has put on, and the best is yet to come!

Before The Throne:

Pray that God's name would be glorified among all the nations of the world and that His will might be done on earth as it is in heaven. Consider you own place in His plan. While He controls all the nations of the world, He still knows the number of hairs on your head. You are an important part of His plan. Pray about that and determine what changes He wants you to make in your life and ministry.

For Further Study:

** Have they stumbled. Ezek 18:23, 32; Ezek 33:11; ** but rather. Acts 13:42, 46-48; Acts 18:6; Acts 22:18-21; Acts 28:24-28; ** for. Rom 10:19;

Romans 11:7-10

The Elect and the Blind

7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded 8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. 9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: 10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

What then? What does all this stuff about election mean for Israel? Paul does not beat around the bush; he blatantly states that Israel has not obtained what it was seeking. Israel was trying to earn God's favor by their own obedience to the law. Paul had already demonstrated that this was impossible. No man could ever be good enough to impress God. All have sinned and fallen short of His glory.

"But the election hath obtained it." That which men could never do was accomplished by the sovereign workings of God's grace. He chose to be merciful toward a remnant who would be saved by His grace through faith.

"...and the rest were blinded." The Greek word ἐπωρώθησαν (eporothesan) literally means that they were hardened and, by extension, that they were rendered stupid or callous, blinded to the truth. Paul does not say how they were hardened or blinded, but we can assume that this was the result of their sin. Then, God further hardened their hearts because of their sin, just as He had done to the Pharaoh when He brought Israel out of Egypt.

This thinking is in line with what the Old Testament says, and Paul does not hesitate to draw his support from it. Verse 8 loosely quotes such passages as Isaiah 29:10, "For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered." (Also see Deuteronomy 29:4; Isaiah 6:9-10;)

Then, Paul also used Psalms 69:22-23, obviously quoting David from memory, because the quote is very loose. It follows a passage in the Psalm that is clearly Messianic, but these verses place a curse on those who have shown no pity for the suffering Messiah. The table represents their food and perhaps all their worldly pleasures. It represents at least the basic sustenance and needs. The very pleasures they sought would serve as their trap or stumblingblock to keep them from God. This is their "recompense," their repayment for their wickedness.

"Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see..." Imagine what the Jews must have thought when it was pointed out to them by Paul, a Pharisee no less, that this curse was placed on them. The very scriptures, which they purported to live by, placed a curse upon them for their unbelief and lack of love for the Anointed One who was sent from God to save them.

"...and bow down their back alway." Albert Barnes explained this in his Notes on the Bible. " The Hebrew Psa 69:23 is, 'Let their loins totter or shake,' that is, as one does when he has on him a heavy burden. The apostle has retained this sense. It means, let them be called to bear heavy and oppressive burdens; let them be subjected to toil or servitude, as a reward for their sins. That this had come upon the Jews in the time of Paul is clear; and it is further clear that it came upon them, as it was implied in the psalm, in consequence of their treatment of the Messiah."

Before The Throne:

If you are reading this, I would think that you are probably one of God's elect. Think about how fortunate you are and give Him thanks. God's grace is such a wonderful and precious thing that it demands a grateful response. Pray about how you should respond today. Pray for those around you who are walking through life with darkened eyes. Only God can open them.

For Further Study:

(v.7) ** What then? Rom 3:9; Rom 6:15; 1Cor 10:19; Phil 1:18; ** Israel. Rom 9:31-32; Rom 10:3; Prov 1:28; Luke 13:24; Heb 12:17; ** but the election. Rom 8:28-30; Rom 9:23; Eph 1:4; 2Thess 2:13-14; 1Pet 1:2; ** and the rest. Isa 6:10; Isa 44:18; Matt 13:14-15; John 12:40; 2Cor 3:14; 2Cor 4:4; 2Thess 2:10-12; ** blinded. 9:18;

(v.8 ) ** God. Isa 29:10; ** eyes. Deut 29:4; Isa 6:9; Jer 5:21; Ezek 12:2; Mark 4:11-12; Luke 8:10; Acts 28:26; ** unto this day. 2Kgs 17:34, 17:41; 2Cor 3:14-15;

(v.9) ** David saith. Ps 69:22-23; ** their table. Deut 6:10-12; Deut 32:13-15; 1Sam 25:36-38; Job 20:20-23; Prov 1:32; Isa 8:13-14; Luke 12:20; Luke 16:19-25; 1Tim 6:17-19; ** a recompence. Deut 32:35; Ps 28:4; Isa 59:18; Isa 66:9; Heb 2:2;

(v.10) ** their eyes. Rom 1:21; Ps 69:23; Zech 11:17; Eph 4:18; 2Pet 2:4, 17; Jude 1:6, 13; ** and bow. Deut 28:64-68; Isa 51:23; Isa 65:12;

Romans 11:5-6

The Election of Grace

5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Paul wrote that, just as God had mercifully saved a remnant of seven thousand men from the temptation of idolatry and from the persecution of Ahab and Jezebel, he has also saved a remnant of Jews at the present time. Most of the nation of Israel had rejected their Messiah and were condemned by their unbelief, but God had chosen a remnant for Himself.

The emphasis in this passage is on the words, "according to the election of grace." By "election" Paul means to say that they were chosen by God. The remnant was no different from any of the other Jews who had rejected Christ, but by the sovereignty of God they were chosen to be His people. Through the regeneration of God's Holy Spirit they were enlightened to the truth and set free from their previous beliefs and sins, which had blinded them. These are the Jews who believed in Jesus and who were added to the church.

The election of grace is an unmerited favor bestowed on sinners by a sovereign God. How much more precious is our salvation when we know that it is only acquired by God's mercy, love, and special choosing. Left to our own resources, we would be condemned for eternity, a fate which we have rightfully deserved.

"And if by grace, then is it no more of works:" Paul inserted this phrase and the rest of this verse to show that the Jewish belief that one must earn God's favor by obedience to the law is contrary to the doctrine of grace. Grace is a free gift. "Otherwise grace is no more grace." Then how can it be earned by works? It would no longer be free nor considered to be a gift.

"But if it be of works, then is it no more grace:" If it were possible to earn our salvation, God would be indebted to us. The laborer deserves the wages earned and agreed upon. His employer is obligated to pay, and that which is paid is certainly not a free and unmerited gift.

"Otherwise work is no more work." Men who are paid for doing nothing cannot say that they have worked for their wages. Work is not work when the wages are paid without merit or the expectation of any kind of reciprocation.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) Grace eliminates the right of men to boast of his own righteousness. There is none righteous but God and only He can bestow His righteousness on another. Grace is free but it is not given to everyone. Most men will receive the judgment that they rightfully deserve. Many are called to follow Christ but only a few are chosen. These are referred to as "the elect of God."

Before The Throne:

Has God chosen you to be a follower of Christ? You do not deserve the privilege, so worship Him and give thanks daily. Ask His forgiveness, if you have ever boasted about your own righteousness or have ever judged others for their sins. Acknowledge that you are a sinner just like others but saved by God's sovereign grace. Seek God's face and ask, "Why?" What is His purpose for choosing you? What does He want you to do with your life?

For Further Study:

(v.5) ** at this present. Rom 9:27; election of grace. Rom 9:11; Eph 1:5-6;

(v.6) ** And if. Rom 3:27-28; Rom 4:4-5; Rom 5:20-21; Deut 9:4-6; 1Cor 15:10; Gal 2:21; Gal 5:4; Eph 2:4-9; 2Tim 1:9; Titus 3:5;

Isaiah 42:23-25

Who Will Listen?

23 Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? 24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. 25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.

People do not like to be told about their sins. When some disaster befalls them, they will rise up against anyone who implies that God had caused it or allowed it as punishment for their sins. Certainly, as Jesus taught, God sometimes has other reasons for allowing a calamity. The blind man was born blind so that God could be glorified through his healing. He was not blind because of his or his parents' sins. Nevertheless, Jesus did not mean to imply that the blind man's family was without sin, but only that sin was not the reason for his blindness. On the other hand, sin is the cause of most calamities. The whole world suffers under the curse of Adam's sin. Had he never sinned there would be no illness, death, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes etc. This earth would be a perfect place to live.

How would the people of Judah respond to God's message? "Who among you will give ear to this?" There was more to the message than the simple idea of verse 22. There was a reason why the people had been robbed and spoiled by their captors, but who wants to hear that kind of news?

I see a similar thing every day in my work with poverty stricken families. Many of them want help, but they do not want to talk about what got them into the situation they are in or what they need to do to get out of it. Some of them do not believe that there is any way out of poverty, so all they want is a handout and to be left alone. Others are fed up with the way they are living and are ready to try anything to improve their situation. They will listen to what we have to say.

So, God asks, "Who among you will listen to this? Who will pay attention to the details of what is to come? Who is willing to listen to the whole story?" God is looking for anyone among the people who is willing to listen and admit to the truth of the matter. He is asking whether there are any among the people who have kept their faith in Him.

"Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers?" It is possible, in fact very likely, that their captors were bragging about how the Babylonian gods had given this heathen nation victory over Judah. Were any of God's people falling for that line or were most of them ready to hear the truth?

We are not much different than the people of those times. We have many among us who worship other gods. Some of them think that "Mother Nature" is an independent power or force that we cannot harness. They blame the great tragedies of earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes etc. on the forces of nature. Like the theory of evolution, everything is the product of chance. Most of our people are not ready to listen.

The people of Judah had sinned against God who is sovereign over all things. He is the one who turned them over to the robbers and spoilers and to their captors, because they were disobedient. They were not in captivity because of a string of bad luck. They were there because God had poured out the fury of His anger upon them. His fury was a fire that burned them up and, yet, they would not acknowledge Him. They did not want to hear about a righteous God against whom they had sinned. They did not want to hear that they could repent and be saved from all of this misery. People never change.

This chapter began with a description of the character and work of Yahweh's Servant, the Messiah, who would deliver His people. It ends with the reasons why God's servant, the people of Judah, are in need of a Messiah. But, who will listen?

Before The Throne:

Are you experiencing serious problems in your life? The first thing that you should do is pray and ask God, "Why?" Is there some way that he will be glorified from your situation; have you been committing some sins that He wants you to stop; or is there an important lesson in all of this that will strengthen your faith? Everything has a reason. If you are God's child in Christ Jesus, nothing can happen to you without His knowledge. Take the time to listen to what He has to say. Confess your mistakes and repent. He is a loving God who will quickly forgive you.

For Further Study:

(v.23) ** will give. Isa 1:18-20; 48:18; Le 26:40-42; De 4:29-31; 32:29; Pr 1:22,23; Jer 3:4-7,13; Mic 6:9; Mt 21:28-31; Ac 3:19,22,23; 1Pe 4:2,3;

(v.24) Isa 10:5,6; 45:7; 47:6; 50:1,2; 59:1,2; 63:10; De 28:49; 32:30; Jud 2:14;
3:8; 10:7; 2Ch 15:6; 36:17; Ne 9:26,27; Ps 106:40-42; Jer 5:15; Jer 25:8,9; La 1:14,18; Am 3:6; Mt 22:7;

(v.25) ** he hath poured. Le 26:15-46; De 32:22; Ps 79:5,6; Eze 7:8,9; 20:34; 22:21,22; Na 1:6; Re 16:1-21; ** and it hath. 2Ki 25:9; ** he knew. Isa 9:13; Jer 5:3; Ho 7:9; Re 9:18-21; 16:9; ** yet he laid. Isa 57:11; Mal 2:2;

Isaiah 42:18-22

The Blind Servant

18 Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. 19 Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD'S servant? 20 Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. 21 The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. 22 But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.

Having rebuked the heathen for their idolatry and promised a Messiah to both the Jews and the Gentiles, Yahweh turns to address His own people again for their sins.

"Hear ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see." For many centuries, God had been speaking to His people, but they had not listened to Him. He had frequently called them to repentance and often warned them of the consequences of disobedience, yet they would not listen. He had shown them His power to protect them, had demonstrated His love for them and had even lived among them, but they would not see the light.

"Who is blind, but my servant?" This is a rhetorical question, the point of which is to say that, compared to other nations, they had been given the advantage of so many more opportunities to see the truth, and they did not see it. Compared to them, no other people could be called blind or a deaf. Judah is definitely the servant and the messenger in this verse. They had been given the word of God and had broken every precept.

They are called "perfect," and the Hebrew word means, "to be safe, to be friendly, and to be at peace." God kept the Jewish people safe. They were His people, His friends, and had every opportunity to live in peace with Him, but they were deliberately blind to everything that He had done for them.

In spite of all of this, the Lord is well pleased on account of His own righteousness. God's righteousness is perfect. It demands that justice be done, and the wages for sin is death. We must understand that mercy, grace and forgiveness of sins are all contrary to justice. Yet God is pleased with His perfect righteousness, because justice will be done and He will remain merciful, full of grace and forgiving. His own Son would pay the cost of the sins of His people. The Messiah would suffer on the cross for each of us, so that our debt is paid, God's grace is extended to us and our sins are forgiven. Thus, God draws us into His perfect righteousness, not because of any merit found in us, but for the good pleasure of His will.

The righteousness of God would therefore be poured out upon His people, and His law would not be neglected, but magnified and made honorable. Not one jot or tittle would fall from the law, but His people would be saved.

But, He says, "Look at this people who have been robbed and spoiled. Look at yourselves and what has become of you, because of your blindness. You are in traps, hiding in holes, and hidden away in prisons. You have no one to rescue you. You have been spoiled by your enemy and no one says that he will restore you... except your God."

Sometimes we Christians tend to get just like the Jewish people of Isaiah's day. We have been the beneficiaries of God's perfect righteousness, our sins having been paid for by the suffering and death of our Savior. We have been given a lively hope by His resurrection from the dead. Yet, many times we live as though we are completely unaffected by what He did for us. We are deliberately blinded to what happened at Calvary and we do not listen to Christ's call to go and make disciples of every nation. We are messengers sent by God but we have forgotten to deliver the message.

Before The Throne:

Is that your spiritual condition right now? Are you a blind and deaf servant? Did you forget to deliver the message to the clerk at the store or to the mechanic at the garage or to your own family members? Pray about it. God has not delivered you to your enemies, has not cast you into prison and has not left you without a homeland. Give Him thanks for your many blessings and make a commitment to be a better messenger. Serve Him because you love Him.

For Further Study:

(v.18) ** ye deaf. Isa 29:18; 43:8; Ex 4:11; Pr 20:12; Mr 7:34-37; Lu 7:22; Re 3:17,18;

(v.19) ** Who is blind. Isa 6:9; 29:9-14; 56:10; Jer 4:22; 5:21; Eze 12:2; Mt 13:14,15; 15:14-16; 23:16-24; Mr 8:17,18; Joh 7:47-49; 9:39,41; 12:40; Ro 2:17-23; 11:7-10,25; 2Co 3:14,15; 4:4;

(v.20) ** Seeing. Isa 1:3; 48:6-8; Nu 14:22; De 4:9; 29:2-4; Ne 9:10-17; Ps 106:7-13; 107:43; Joh 9:37-40; 11:37-50; ** opening. Isa 58:2; Jer 42:2-5; Eze 33:31; Mr 6:19,20; Ac 28:22-27;

(v.21) ** well. Isa 1:24-27; 46:12,13; Ps 71:16,19; 85:9-12; Da 9:24-27; Mt 3:17; 5:17; 17:5; Joh 8:29; 15:10; Ro 3:25,26; 2Co 5:19-21; Php 3:9; ** he will. Ps 40:8; Mt 3:15; 5:17-20; Ro 3:31; 7:12; 8:3,4; 10:4; Ga 3:13,21; 5:22,23; Heb 8:10; 1Jo 3:4,5; ** it. Joh 13:31,32; 17:4,5;

(v.22) ** a people. Isa 1:7; 18:2; 36:1; 52:4,5; 56:9; Jer 50:17; 51:34,35; 52:4-11; Lu 19:41-44; 21:20-24; ** are hid. Isa 14:17; 45:13; Ps 102:20; Jer 52:31;

Isaiah 42:13-17

The End of Patience

13 The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. 14 I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, [and] refrained myself: [now] will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. 15 I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. 16 And I will bring the blind by a way [that] they knew not; I will lead them in paths [that] they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. 17 They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye [are] our gods.

Here are more reasons to praise the LORD with a new song. He will go forth against His enemies like a mighty man of war, a great hero. "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. (Revelation 19:11) He would stir up, or awaken, in His followers the jealousy and zeal for His cause. Then, with a shout, with the roar of the Lion of Judah, He will prevail against His enemies.

God has held His peace and been quiet for a long time; in fact, He has been patient with us since man first sinned in the Garden of Eden. It is one of His glorious characteristics. "The LORD [is] longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing [the guilty], visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation]." (Numbers 14:18) He is longsuffering, but He has placed limits on Himself. "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man..." (Genesis 6:3)

Now, He says that He will cry like a woman giving birth. These words should not be literally applied to Yahweh. He is not a man and is only using these particular words to demonstrate to us how patient He has been. It must be difficult for the author of righteousness to sit for thousands of years and remain patient while His creation runs around in defiant rebellion. God will experience an explosive sense of satisfaction as He destroys and devours His enemies.

God will make waste the mountains and hills. This could mean a complete leveling of anything that attempts to stand in His way or it could mean the destruction of governments. The herbs are the fruit upon which His enemies depended or the people who support the wicked governments of the earth. The rivers that supplied the enemy will be dried up and become like islands in a desert.

Yahweh will lead the blind on paths they had never known before. There is debate over whether this means that the physically blind will now be able to see and walk in areas they had never been through before or whether it means that the spiritually blind will have their eyes opened to the truths of divine grace. It could mean both of these things would happen. The important thing is that God will have pity on the unfortunate. He promises to never forsake them.

However, those who trust in their graven images or other worldly things will be made greatly ashamed. "The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all [ye] gods." (Psalms 97:6-7)

There is no evidence that any of the events in this passage have anything to do with the exodus from Babylon. They seem to relate to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus. They are additional reasons for the singing of a new song, and they are events to which you and I can look forward. They are good news for all believers and they have a message that needs to be carried to the modern world.

The Spirit of God will not always strive with men. He is infinitely patient but has placed limits on Himself. There will come a time when it will be too late for men to receive Christ as their Savior and repent of their sins. The moment will come, either at their death or at the return of Christ. Every lost soul needs to know this and we, as God's people, must deliver the message.

"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14) Will you be that preacher?

Before The Throne:

We like to make people feel warm and fuzzy all over by telling them, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." Pray, however, for the boldness and the courage to tell people what will happen when they reject His plan. That is the only way that they can make an intelligent choice. Pray for the full message of the gospel to be conveyed to every living soul. Right now, 2 billion people do not know that there is a Christ for them to receive. They have never heard His name. Pray for them and the missionaries who are trying to reach them. The church needs many more laborers to send into the field. Ask God whether you are to be one of them.

For Further Study:

(v.13) ** as a mighty. Isa 59:16-19; 63:1-4; Ex 15:1-3; Ps 78:65; 110:5,6; Jer 25:30; ** jealousy. Na 1:2; Zep 1:18; 3:8; ** shall cry. Isa 31:4; Ho 11:10; Joe 3:16; Am 1:2; ** prevail. Ps 118:16;

(v.14) ** long time. Job 32:18,20; Ps 50:2; 83:1,2; Ec 8:11,12; Jer 15:6; 44:22; Lu 18:7; 2Pe 3:9,10,15; ** devour.

(v.15) Isa 2:12-16; 11:15,16; 44:27; 49:11; 50:2; Ps 18:7; 107:33,34; 114:3-7; Jer 4:24; Na 1:4-6; Hab 3:6-10; Hag 2:6; Zec 10:11; Re 6:12-17; 8:7-12; 11:13; 16:12,18; 20:11;

(v.16) ** I will bring. Isa 29:18,24; 30:21; 32:3; 35:5,8; 48:17; 54:13; 60:1,2,19,20; Jer 31:8,9; Ho 2:14; Lu 1:78,79; Eph 5:8; ** lead. Isa 41:3; Jos 3:4; Ho 2:6; ** crooked. isa 40:4; 45:2; Ec 1:15; 7:13; Lu 3:5; ** and not. Ps 94:14; Jer 32:39-41; Eze 14:23; Ro 5:8-10; 8:29-31; 2Th 2:13,14; 1Pe 1:3-5; Heb 13:5;

(v.17) ** be greatly. Isa 1:29; 44:11; 45:16,17; Ps 97:7; Jer 2:26,27; Hab 2:18-20; ** say to. Isa 44:17; Ex 32:4,8;