“I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin. No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. … ”
Romans 11:1-2a NLT
Paul continues his theme of salvation for all, by asking himself another question. Has God replaced the Jews with another nation, rejecting the “nation of Israel” in the process? Such a thought he quickly dispelled, because it would mean that God had rejected him, something that could never be the case after his encounter with the risen Jesus on the Damascus Road. Once again he set out his pedigree, with a family line he could trace all the way back to Abraham. He was one of the “stars” that God invited Abraham to count in the promise about the number of Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 15:5). So Paul assured himself that he was still counted as one of God’s “own people”.
God’s grace and mercy is unlimited so He will never reject anyone who comes to Him in repentance. But in history there was a time when man’s wickedness was such that God had no choice but to reject and destroy mankind. We read in Genesis 6:5-6, “The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart”. These were the days of Noah but before the flood. On another occasion there was the depravity of the people in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and how these cities and all within them were destroyed (read Genesis 18 and 19). Through the times of the Judges, the people of Israel were time and time again overcome by their enemies, because God had turned His back on them because of their sin and rebellion. In it all, however, God’s rejection of mankind is not His choice – it follows wrong human choices. The choices of evil and sinful ways rather than God’s ways will not end well.
We live today in a season of grace. Through Jesus, and because of God’s patience, rejection and destruction of the wicked has been delayed until another time. We know that, because Jesus told us through the old Apostle John (Revelation 20). There will be that awful day when large numbers of people will stand before God, and the same penalty for sin will fall upon them as it did in the days of Noah, and Sodom and Gomorrah.
Like Paul, we pilgrims have not been rejected by God. To the contrary He loves us and cares for us. And we remember that as God’s people, we were chosen “from the very beginning“. We read in Ephesians 1:4-5, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure“. There is something warm and secure, knowing that we are God’s children. Sometimes we might look around us and see a distressed world. We ask God where He is in it all. But as God’s sons and daughters we trust Him for our future, regardless of the apparent mayhem. remember – this is a world where God’s grace is available to all, but one day, He will call time. If the world seems evil now imagine what it will be like without God. Second thoughts, don’t bother! It will be too horrible to contemplate.
Father God. We are so grateful that nothing happens in this world without You allowing it. We echo the words at the end of Revelation – Come Lord Jesus. Amen.