Romans 11:1-10 – Israel’s Rejection Is Not Final
I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is the divine reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,
as it is written,
“God gave them a sluggish spirit,
eyes that would not see
and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.”
And David says,
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and keep their backs forever bent
As with many of the Romans passages, this one has taken a lot of thinking about what’s in there and how to capture something of theology in an image. This afternoon I was praying over this passage and the sense I got was of something being hidden from immediate view but found when you look a bit deeper. The other morning it was in the negatives here – there was a ton of frost on everything, but the sun was still shining. It was a beautiful morning. I loved the look of the frost on the hoods of our cars and was I took this picture I saw the reflection (albeit blurry) of the trees and bushes around. Like this passage for me – the promise is still there, the promise of God will still be fulfilled, but for some it definitely feels hidden and not as obvious as it once was seen.