The Letter to the Romans
COLLEEN MOORE TINKER
36. Found By Those Not Looking
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?"
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: "Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."
19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, "I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding."
20 And Isaiah boldly says, "I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me."
21 But concerning Israel he says, "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people."
Paul is walking through an explanation of how God has always promised Israel He would release them from their bondage brought about by their apostasy. He has shown how the prophecies that foretold this release have ultimately been fulfilled in the gospel. Now he shows how God foretold that Israel would fail to accept the gospel and that the Gentiles would embrace it.
1. In verse 16 Paul states, "But not all the Israelites accepted the good news," and then he quotes Isaiah 53:1 where the prophet said, "Lord, who has believed our message?" To what good news or message-and to which time(s) in Israel's history-is Paul referring? (see Isaiah 53:1; 52:7; Hebrews 4:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Luke 4:16-21; John 12:35-38)
2. What is significant about Paul stressing that faith comes through hearing the message? (see Galatians 3:2, 5, 10; 2:15-16; Matthew 11:12-15; 13:3-9; 37-43; Mark 4:21-24; Luke 15:31-34; Revelation 2:7)
3. What is "the word of Christ"? (see also Colossians 3:16)
4. Paul quotes Psalm 19:4 as part of his argument that the Israelites had indeed heard the message. What is the point of Psalm 19:4, and what is the connection between this psalm and Paul's point about the Jews hearing the message? (see Matthew 24:14; Romans 1:8; 20; Colossians 1:6; 23b; 1 Thessalonians 1:8)
5. In verses 16-18 Paul demonstrates that the message has been preached, but not all Israel has heard and accepted it. Now, in verse 19, he asks whether the problem was that Israel didn't understand the message. He quotes Deuteronomy 32:21 to answer his own question. Who were "those who are not a nation"?
6. What did "not a nation" not understand (verse 19), and what about them did God use to make Israel envious? (see Romans 11:11, 14; Romans 2:14-15; 26-29; 4:11)
7. Paul now quotes Isaiah 65:1 to show how God fulfilled this prophecy. When Isaiah first gave this prophecy, what would his hearers have understood it to mean? How does Paul now explain its fulfillment, and what caused the Gentiles to become the object of God's revelation? (see Isaiah 65:1; Romans 9:15-19; 30)
8. In verse 21 Paul again quotes Isaiah to explain God's rejection of Israel as a nation. What was the reason God rejected the nation of Israel as His exclusive people? (see Isaiah 65:2-7; Jeremiah 35:17; Romans 2:5, 17-24)
9. How did you hear the message?
10. Have you surrendered to gospel, or are there things you hold onto that squeeze it out of some places in your heart?
11. In what ways are you disobedient and obstinate-or fully convinced you are right about something and unwilling to change your attitude?
12. Ask God to soften your heart and to make you vulnerable to His Spirit.
Ask Him to make you willing to surrender whatever you hold onto as you "rights"
or your indulgence. Ask Him to make you part of His family and to reveal
His majesty and sovereignty to you. Praise God for sending Jesus to die
for your sins. Praise Jesus for being obedient even unto death and for rising
from the grave. Praise the Holy Spirit for bringing you to new life and
for revealing Jesus to you.
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CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted June 21, 2006.