Text: Romans 11:25-32
Theme: God permitted disobedience and unbelief to show himself merciful.
Key verses: “I want you to understand this mystery…Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved…” (v. 25-26a). “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against him, God was merciful to you instead. Now they are the rebels, and God’s mercy has come to you so that they, too, will share in God’s mercy. For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone” (v. 29-32).
What I believe God said to me: Nothing much yet. You haven’t given me the time or attention to speak to you. You are quite distracted today, Dwayne. You’ve allowed your flesh to rule rather than me, so repent of that first. Now focus completely on me and my Word. Stop checking your Facebook messages and Slack messages. I am the LORD, and I deserve your full attention. Besides, if you even hope to glean some understanding from the deep mystery of Romans 11, then you had better trust my Spirit to guide you and help you. Ie., you had better listen like one being taught. What Paul is unpacking and explaining here was a mystery to the generations of my followers before Christ came. And for many of Paul’s readers it was still a mystery. But ignorance is no longer an excuse. My light has come for the world to see! And the Holy Spirit now dwells inside my followers to know the Truth that will set them free. The mystery is how I would include the Gentiles in my plan of redemption and require the Jews to trust in my Son rather than the law. Even more puzzling is why you would even need a Savior in the first place. Why did I allow sin and disobedience into the world to corrupt my people and cause them to stumble and fall? These are heavy questions, for which theologians have debated for hundreds of years. As you read from one commentator, verse 32 is a “weighty sentence embracing the whole course of human history, and summing up the divine philosophy of the whole matter.” Your foray during these brief devotionals will merely scratch the surface of the depth of what Paul has presented in this chapter. Nonetheless, it is good that you are attempting not to be “ignorant” or unaware of this mystery. These words from John MacArthur can help you get to heart of this particular passage: “Were there no disobedience, there would be no need for and there could be no expression of God’s mercy. To reveal Himself as merciful, He permitted sin. He has shut up all—the whole world, Jew and Gentile—in disobedience and unbelief in order that He might show mercy to all who repent of their sin and turn to Him for gracious salvation.” Know this without a doubt, everything I have done has been to show great grace to sinners and bring great glory to myself. The fact that you are still living and breathing and being used by me is in itself a huge demonstration of my mercy. Now go be my trophy of grace, so the world may know I am God, the Savior.
What I said to God: Wow, this is an incredible passage and a wonderful revelation of this deep mystery of faith. Thank You that You will save “the full number of Gentiles.” Thank You that that full number included me, my wife and my sons. I know You will return one day soon, and the opportunity for those living now to accept You will be past. I don’t understand a lot about eschatology and last things. However, I believe with all my heart You will fulfill every jot and tittle of Your Word concerning the Church and Your people the Jews. Thank You for including me in Your awesome forever family. Forgive me when I lose sight of Your majesty and unsearchable grace and power.