Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
We come to Romans Chapter 10 verse 16 . People have many other things to do - and the writer asks the question - quoting from Isaiah - Who has believed? Who believed Isaiah? Very few.
When Jesus was born, who believed the angels? Very few. Who believed the shepherds as they went around Bethlehem telling what they had heard and seen?
God was sending Jesus into the world - and so few - so very few showed any interest.
Zechariah and Elizabeth - Mary and Joseph - a few shepherds - some Wise Men a few months later came looking for The King of The Jews. But these Jews to whom God sent a Saviour paid very little attention to what was happening all around them.
We have to learn the lesson which we learn from a few faithful souls who heard and obeyed God at such cost.
Verse 18 . Did they not hear? Of course, they did - and Paul refers to Psalm 19 which speaks about the sun. As everybody has seen the sun so they have heard The Gospel. There is no trouble with hearing - but heeding. Same with many who may go to Church Services - Carol Concerts - they hear something - but give little HEED - paying little attention.
Verse 19 - Perhaps they did not understand it. But there is more to it than that.
They made God jealous by going after other gods - I will make you jealous by going after other people. Do we make the Jews jealous?
Religion is very strong - it is stronger than communism - communism has fallen - but not religion with its manmade traditions!
Do we make them want to come in and discover the salvation which flows from Jesus the Son of God - the riches of Jesus Christ?
If you were a Jew, would you want to come in? But remember, we have to take into consideration - calling - choosing - election.
Israel should have been so open to Jesus - but as we know they were not open - they were closed and shut tight. And Paul quotes from Isaiah - I was found by those who did not seek me - I revealed myself to those who did not ask for Me.
It can be the same with certain very brainy people - they have to watch simple people come right through to God - right through to faith in Jesus Christ - and simple people usually come through simply.
Isaiah was bold to preach that - Gentiles finding The Messiah - but I have laid My Hands upon them. I am trying to make you jealous.
Jealous - angry at them having what you should have. Someone has what you should have.
Envy - is being angry at something someone else has which they have a right to have. That is the sin of coveting. Jealous is something very different. “I am a jealous God…….
If in Chapter 9 we have the picture of an impersonal Potter - in Chapter 10 we have a Loving Gracious Merciful God - holding out His Hands to a disobedient obstinate and contrary people.
They would not come His way - by obedient faith. They said - We will swim - we will struggle on - we will do it on our own - without any help from Him - and they were dashed against the rock and drowned.
Let’s move right on into Chapter 11. After all that did God wash His Hands of this people and have nothing more to do with this nation? Did GOD reject His People? NO. NEVER.
I am proof that God has not rejected the people whom He foreknew – writes Paul.
God had made a Covenant with them – which He will never break.
Paul is saying - I am an Israeli - and God has not rejected His People - He came after me - seeking me - chasing me - then changing me - transforming me - and I am a descendant of Abraham - from the tribe of Benjamin.
He came from that exclusive tribe from which King Saul came - and Paul was originally called Saul probably after the first king of Israel - yet he allowed his name to be changed to Gentile Paul and went to the Gentiles - to those - like us - who are not Jews - and we have just a little of his personally intense testimony.
Paul was a disciple of Jesus - a servant or slave of Jesus Christ - an apostle - yet he never forgot he was a Jew.
Look at me - I am a Jew - God has not rejected me - and He will never go back on the Covenant He made with Abraham.
Just as we were saying that we are not the first generation to face very serious issues - so Israel has had to face many serious situations down through the centuries. Paul refers to one of them.
God has not totally rejected all of Israel - and Paul mentions the days of Elijah. Elijah thought he was the only one left who was faithful – the devil likes to have us think like that at times. Elijah got his numbers wrong. “Lord, no longer is there a people of God.” “I HAVE 7,000 RESERVED FOR MYSELF - who have not bowed the knee to Baal. I have held on to 7,000 - not 7,000 who have held on to Me - see that clearly.
He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.
So there is a remnant - a group set aside - and there always has been - and there always will be. The apostles - the 120 - then 3,000 - then around 8,000 - and it grew - and The Church of Jesus Christ is continuing to grow - all around the world.
And it is all of grace - His choosing - His Mercifully coming to us in tender Love - and that has nothing to do with anything which we might consider we have done to merit it. It is He who always takes the initiative. If you can earn it - if we ever think we deserve it - it is not GRACE. It is Grace that brings about God’s Sovereign Choice.
God made that Covenant with Abraham - and with His descendants - upon which He will never renege or go back.
God chooses people - He reserves them for Himself - He hangs on to them - He will never let us go. Think of what He did when that young girl named Mary was so willing to bring Jesus into the world.
“I am with you always even unto the end of the world.”
That is more than a promise - it is also a threat. When you think you can run away from me - I AM WITH YOU.
“Lord our God – we see in this passage how You hold on to us – even when we may think things might be slipping away, Your grasp and grip of us is strong and firm. We pray for Israel – we thank You for Israel – we thank You that You engraft us wild branches into the natural root. We pray for the Church of Jesus Christ – we pray for the coming of the Kingdom of God upon the earth – we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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