The Letter to the Romans
COLLEEN MOORE TINKER
38. Hardened To This Day
7. What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened
8. as it is written: "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day."
9. And David says: "May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever."
Spirit of stupor
Paul has begun to explain that, just as in Old Testament times, God has preserved a remnant from among Israel whom He is preserving to inherit His righteousness. The nation as a whole rejected Jesus the Messiah, but there are still some whom God has chosen by grace.
1. Paul summarizes the first 6 verses of chapter 11: "What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did." What had they sought to attain, and why did they not find it? (see Romans 9:31-32; 10:2-4)
2. In the New Testament, who are the elect? (see Matthew 24:22; 24:24, 31; Mark 13:20; 13:22, 27; 1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1)
3. In verse 7, who specifically are the elect to whom Paul refers?
4. Including the insights already gleaned from Romans 9 and 10, what can we understand Paul to mean when he says, "The others were hardened"? How and why were they hardened? (see Romans 9:30-32; Isaiah 6:10)
5. Paul again quotes the Old Testament to show that what was happening to the Jews was foreshadowed centuries before. Verse 8 echoes Deuteronomy 29:4 and also Isaiah 29:10. What would Israel have understood this declaration to have meant when Moses delivered it? Isaiah? What does Paul say is the ultimate fulfillment of these prophecies? (see Deuteronomy 29:1-6; Isaiah 29:10; 2 Kings 17:13-15)
6. Verses 9-10 are quotes from Psalm 69:22-23. Who was David originally writing about when he wrote this Psalm? (See Psalm 69:18-29.)
7. How is Paul using this Psalm to comment on his statement in verse 7 that the non-elect of Israel were divinely hardened? Comment on the juxtaposition of a Psalm crying for vengeance on one's enemies to Paul's discussion of Israel. (consider Micah 7:4-7; Matthew 10:34-36; 2 Corinthians 11:25-26; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16.)
8. Are you one of God's elect? How do you know?
9. In what areas of you life do you find yourself tempted to succumb to "hardening"? In other words, what temptations seduce you away from God's discipline and intimacy into self-indulgence?
10. In what ways have you experienced Jesus and the gospel creating divisions and producing enemies where you expected loyalty?
11. As God to reveal to you the ways in which you give in to subtle hardening in your heart. Ask Him to root out your temptations to self-indulgence and to teach you to surrender what He wants you to surrender. Ask Jesus to keep you loyal and faithful and to glorify Himself in and through you.
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