I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be!
Why is Israel today rejecting the gospel? Paul’s answer was this: “Israel’s rejection of Christ is temporary.” In Romans 11:1, Paul said, “God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be!” That word “rejected” refers to a permanent casting aside, a thrusting away of Israel. Paul was asking, “Has God forever cast away Israel?” A thousand times no! God has temporarily turned His back on Israel and turned His heart toward the Gentiles, but it is a temporary rejection, not a permanent rejection. How do we know that God’s turning away from Israel is only temporary? Paul gave several pieces of evidence that God is not through with Israel.
The first piece of evidence is God’s choice of Paul. In Romans 11:1, Paul said, “I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” Paul never got over the fact that God chose him. Consider Paul’s background. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews; in fact, he was so zealous in his beliefs that he even killed Christians. In 1 Timothy 1:16, Paul said, “For this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” Maybe you think your sin is too great for God to forgive. Paul would say, “You are not nearly as good a sinner as you think. I am the foremost of sinners. If God can forgive me, He can forgive anyone.” Paul is also an illustration of God’s dealing with Israel. The fact that Paul was a Jew and was chosen to be the foremost of the apostles is evidence that God is not through with the Jews.
The second piece of evidence is God’s preservation of a Jewish remnant. This word “remnant” was used in the Old Testament to describe the group of Jews who survived captivities and persecutions. There was always a remnant who survived, and that is a measure of God’s faithfulness. You do not see any Hittites, Amorites, or Canaanites today; they have all been extinguished. But God’s people have lived for thousands of years. God has always preserved a remnant. Paul applies that word “remnant” to the small group of Jewish believers in Jesus. In every age, there has been a group of Jews who are right with God. One way we know God is not through with Israel is there is still a remnant of Jewish believers even today.
A third piece of evidence that God is not finished with Israel is God’s prediction of Israel’s rejection. This rejection did not take God by surprise; it was predicted in the Old Testament. Paul quoted from Psalm 69:22, “May their table before them become a snare; and when they are in peace, may it become a trap.” David was saying that what should have been a table of blessing for Israel became a stumbling block to the gospel. God gave the Israelites the Law to lead them to Christ. But instead of allowing the Law to lead them to Christ, the Israelites turned the Law into a rulebook and thought they could earn God’s favor by keeping the Law. What was meant to be a blessing became a stumbling block. Israel’s rejection was predicted in the Old Testament.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Why The Jew Is Important To You” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.