So, God has attempted, and attempted and attempted, arms open, to reconcile with his people. Did he finally decide to reject them? No. I (Paul) am his. An Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, who he knew. Don’t you know the scripture about Elijah, how he appealed to God to reject them?
Lord, they’ve killed your prophets, and I’m the only one left! And now, they are after me as well!
There are men in reserve. 7,000 in fact. They’ve not bowed to Baal. There’s also a remnant, also chosen by grace. They’ve done nothing to earn it. If they had, there would be no grace available to any.
What happened? Well, Israel worked so hard to attain what they could not attain by works. What was attained was given freely by the LORD because of grace. The others? The workers? They refused to accept the grace and were hardened:
God gave them a spirit of stupor, unseeing eyes and unhearing ears.
Of them, David said,
Their table is a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and payback for their foolishness. Their eyes are darkened and their backs bent.
They stumbled and fell because of their desire to work. But, are they beyond recovery? Beyond hope? No. In fact, it is because they fell that the gospel is available to all. The availability of this gospel to the Gentiles causes great jealousy among “God’s people.” Their falling brings light–light to those previously uninvited in. This same light is still available to the Jews. I’m writing directly to the Gentiles because I (Paul) am their apostle. I go to the Gentiles to provoke my own people, to call them to a holiness that is available to them that they might be saved. The rejection of this same message led to the reconciliation of others, and, their long-coming acceptance will bring joy. If the early responses are an indication of hope, the entire batch of “His people” will find salvation. If the root is holy, the entire tree is also holy. IF some branches are broken off, others are grafted on. These others then become dependent on the solid, holy, root. This should not be a cause for arrogance, but fear. Why? Because even grafted branches can be removed. Here, we must consider both the kindness, and hardness, of God. The hardness is to those who have fallen, and the kindess to those who remain. It’s possible for people to be cut off. If those being grafted on reject their unbelief, they will remain attached. Even those who have left, who’ve fallen away or been removed will also have opportunity to be grafted back on. Why? The fit is more natural, easier. I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to be ignorant of this grafting process. You (Israel) are not the only ones being saved. Do not be arrogant. You’ve been hardened for a time as the Gentiles are saved, more and more. You’ll also be saved:
The deliverer is from Zion and will return the godless from Jacob- this is my covenant taking them from their sins.
Right now, these stumbling Jews seem like enemies of yours (Gentiles) but they are loved because they had been called by the Patriarchs. God’s gift and call are not able to be taken back. The call is still open! You (Gentiles) once were disobedient and you’ve received mercy from God despite that. They (Jews) are now disobedient and also may receive mercy. God has allowed all men to be slaves to sin with one purpose- that he may save them!
God is so deep! The riches of his wisdom and knowledge, his judgments are unsearchable, his paths unable to be seen. Who has known his mind? Who could counsel him? Who does God owe? Who could pay him what is owed? Everything comes from and through him, all things are to him! His is the glory, now and forever, Amen.