Scripture Reading: Romans 11:25-36, Isaiah 40:13-15, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Perhaps you’ve heard the not-so-fairy-tale-like stories of the children of Israel. Like the one where God rescued them from slavery, and they responded by grumbling about the flavors missing from their menu (Numbers 11). Or the one where they got impatient with Moses as he met with God on Mt. Sinai, so they decided to worship a golden calf (Exodus 32). Or the time when they came to the border of the promised land and listened to their knees knocking and hearts racing, instead of listening to the voice of God (Numbers 13).
When we flip forward in our Bibles to the New Testament, we find God’s people still stuck in the ruts of rejection and rebellion. It was, after all, the Jewish leaders who led the charge to have Jesus arrested, tried, convicted, and crucified (Matthew 26:3-5). After the resurrection, they remained resolute in their opposition of Jesus, doing everything in their power to squelch the message of the Church.
Yet here in Romans 11, Paul reminds us that despite their chronic grumbling and wilderness wandering, despite their golden calf worshipping and Savior scourging, the Jewish people remain God’s “beloved” (v. 28).
Our human logic may balk at this, but Paul warns against trusting only what makes sense to our brains (Romans 11:25). Try as we might, we cannot understand God’s love using our flawed standards for love and acceptance. Chapter after chapter, verse after verse, the story of God’s commitment to His chosen people doesn’t make sense. Human understanding leaves us wondering, Why did God choose them? But through the lens of the gospel, the story of the Jews suddenly makes sense. Look at Deuteronomy 7:6-8.
“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (v. 6).
Lean in. Listen closely to this next part.
“It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all the peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath he swore to your fathers. . .” (vv. 7-8).
God knew His beloved were weak and frail—incapable of keeping their side of the covenant. Still He chose them, loves them, and keeps His promises to them.
The Bible is not the story of a wayward people but of a faithful God.
In the shadow of the cross, we are God’s chosen people. Because of the gospel, our identity has been changed from “not my people” to “my people” (Romans 9:25). Christ’s sacrifice made a way for us to be among the “beloved.” The gifts God has lavished upon us are so extravagant, and we are so undeserving, that we sometimes worry He’ll take them back. But “God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
The depth of God’s wisdom is matched only by the depth of His love. He has promised unfathomable gifts to us and He will never snatch them back. If every one of God’s acts of love and faithfulness toward the Jewish people could be contained, they’d overflow the seas. We, too, can stand on the shore and see the unmistakable faithfulness of God.
We are weak.
We are wayward.
And yet, the Prince and the kingdom are irrevocably ours.
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.