Romans 10:19-21 (NIV)
Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,
“I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;
I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”
And Isaiah boldly says,
“I was found by those who did not seek me;
I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”
Previously Paul has been proving that God has not only offered salvation to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles. This is his final round of proof before we start chapter 11, and I found it quiet encouraging to read this morning.But concerning Israel he says,
“All day long I have held out my hands
to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
The Jews had rejected God throughout their history, but at the pinnacle of their rejection of God is their rejection of his son Jesus. They worshiped false gods, trusted in their own righteousness and ignored their creator and saviour. As a result God also rejects them. Through Jesus he fulfills his promise of salvation, not only to the Jews, but to the Gentiles. Not to all of them, but to those who genuinely seek him and follow him. To those he chooses.
God finds us, we don't find him.
What I found encouraging is that we (both Jews and Gentiles, but especially Gentiles because throughout history we haven't known God or his plan) did not seek or know God. We did not understand his plans and we rejected him. Yet he revealed himself to us - he sent his one and only son, Jesus (who is fully God), to die for us and to take away our sin if we turn to him. How do we turn to God? He has to reveal himself to us.
We didn't seek God. Historically the Gentiles did not know God, how could they seek him? But God in his mercy and grace and love not only showed us his character but also provided a way for us to be saved. He then sent the apostles into the world to tell people. We didn't look for God, he found us and saved us. We didn't save ourselves, it was 100% entirely his work which saved us.
God is Patient, but he will Judge.
What does v21 say? “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” God was and is patient with Israel, and he is patient with us. He could judge the earth right now, but he hasn't for two reasons:
- Because his time isn't right yet and he hasn't called in all the elect
- To show his patience and mercy to all who are rejecting him and will not turn to him, giving them time to repent even though they won't do so.
Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.