Posted by Murray Smith

“Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ.” Romans 11:25

God does not have favourites. He loves everyone with the same powerful love and undeserved grace. But to engage with his creation God had to begin somewhere and he chose Israel, to whom the rest of the world owes an incalculable amount, because they were the conduit of God’s blessing to the nations, culminating in the redemptive work of the Messiah, Jesus. Where would any of us be without him? Unfortunately Israel failed in its calling and multitudes of Jewish people today have not acknowledged Jesus as the true Son of God.

God is not surprised

God always knew Israel’s coming to faith would be an extremely long term project, as the above text suggests, many of them still have ‘hard hearts’, but the benefit has been the open door for the gospel to come to life among the gentiles – our saving grace! Paul further explained it this way to the Romans, “Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Romans 11:28.

God finishes what he begins

You could argue that if Israel was God’s first chosen people and they are now so far from him then could the same thing not happen to us? Romans 9 to 11 is all about the rebellious ‘condition’ of Israel and God’s remedy for them as a nation. There are two key texts, one near the beginning of these chapters and one near the end, that serve as bookends confirming God’s unwavering commitment to Israel, “It is not as though God’s word had failed,” Romans 9:6 … and For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn (are irrevocable). Romans 11:29.

Waiting for the complete number

There is an ancient prophecy concerning the final homecoming of Israel back to God, “In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit,” Isaiah 27:6. It would seem then as we take note of international affairs in the light of these words that their fulfilment is not too far away. God is indeed beginning to draw many Jews towards himself in wonderful and unique ways. No human being knows what the complete number of Jews and gentiles is that God requires to usher in the second Coming of Christ, but we can be sure that the most important thing we can do in the interim, is engage in sharing the gospel with all people. This resolute commitment of God to a ‘hard hearted’ nation should give us tremendous hope of his commitment to us as individuals, families and as a nation – he is not done with us yet!

Prayer: Most High God we gladly acknowledge and submit to your wonderful plans for both Israel and ourselves today. Together with Paul we pray and declare, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom andknowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?”“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.Romans 11:33-36

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