Text: Romans 10:14-21
Key verses: “But how can they call on him t save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” (v. 14). “But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, ‘Lord, who has believed our message?’ So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. But I ask, have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have: ‘The message has gone throughout the earth, and the words to all the world.’ But I ask, did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, God said, ‘I will rouse your jealousy through people who are not even a nation…the foolish Gentiles. And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying ‘I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.’ But regarding Israel, God said, ‘All day long I opened my arms to them, but they were disobedient and rebellious'” (v. 16-21).
What (I believe) God said to me: Dwayne, this is 3 days in a row you are journaling through Romans. Good job! Keep this up. Return to this discipline, first, because I expect it from you, and second, because you are not the only one to be blessed and helped through what you are writing. The Israelites–my chosen people–were and are sadly rebellious. When one looks at their ridiculous track record of falling away over the centuries, one might wonder if I could have chosen a better candidate to receive my eternal favor and blessings. But I have never second-guessed myself. I have purposes beyond what people can comprehend. As you know, my ways are higher than your ways. You have no choice but to trust me. You are a Gentile. You are not a Jew. You are one of the ones Paul was referring in this passage when he said, “I was found by a people not looking for me.” You certainly didn’t look for me, Dwayne. You had no clue where or how to find me. I came to you. I revealed myself to you. You heard the message of truth from your mother and from Pastor Piltar, and you responded in faith. You walked forward on a Sunday morning and accepted me into your heart and life as a small child. My chosen people, the Israelites, have mostly rebelled against me, rather than come toward me. Sad, isn’t it? That those I placed my hand of favor on would rebel against me so often. It makes no sense that they would turn their back on the One who loves them the most and wants only the best for them. Now, before you start feeling too overly good about yourself by contrast, let me remind you of your own failings. How many times since you came forward in that little country church in Alabama have you turned your back on me and gone your own way? Can you count them? No, you cannot, for they are too many to count and remember. Paul could just as easily been writing of you when he said, “They were disobedient and rebellious.” It is only by my grace and mercy that you didn’t expire years ago. But I love you son, unconditionally and eternally. No one (not even you) can separate you from my love. Learn from Israelites. Don’t follow in their footsteps. More importantly, don’t ever assume you are superior to them. You are nothing without me–but because of my Spirit in you you are my precious child. Watch your life to be sure you aren’t also my rebel child.
What I said to God: Thank You, my Lord and God, for speaking so clearly to me today. What a blessing investing time in your presence and in Your Word. Help me humble myself before Your awesome holiness and majesty and obey you in all I do today. I praise You and thank You for loving me so!