Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 9:4-5
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 9:4
v4: Why would Paul feel such compassion for his fellow Jews? His answers are simple. First, he still thinks of them as family because he is tied to them by blood (v3), but second, and far more important, because they are loved by God. They are “Israelites,” the family line from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). Over the centuries God had showered His special attention on them in many ways: First, as Abraham’s descendants He had drawn them into a privileged relationship with Himself like that of a father with his own son. He cared for them as a father would care for His own children. He told Pharaoh, “Israel is My son, My firstborn” (Ex 4:22), and the prophets had reaffirmed this truth over the years (Isa 63:16; 64:8; Jer 31:9; Hos 11:1).

Monday: Romans 9:4
v4 (continued): They had also been given His glory. God’s presence had appeared to Israel on Mt. Sinai (Ex 19:16-20) and had led them through the wilderness in the cloud and the fire (Ex 13:21, 22). The visible light of His presence could also be seen over the ark of the covenant during certain seasons of their history (Ex 40:35-38; 1Sa 3:3; 1Ki 8:10, 11). Next, Paul says God’s relationship with them was grounded in covenants. In ancient near eastern cultures a covenant was a solemn ceremony in which promises were guaranteed by invoking a curse on the one who broke the promise. God made numerous promises to Israel over the course of its history, but just two covenants: one with Abraham (Ge 15:5-21; 17:1-14; Lk 1:72, 73) and one with the nation at Mt. Sinai (Ex 24:1-8). No such level of commitment had been made to any other nation.

Tuesday: Romans 9:4
v4 (continued): Next Paul says only to Israel did God give His written Law. Other nations might discover His attributes by looking at nature (Ro 1:19, 20) or by listening to their conscience (Ro 1:21, 28), but to Israel He revealed Himself at a far deeper level (Ex 32:15, 16; 34:27, 28; Ps 147:19, 20). In the Law He showed them His holiness, taught them how to worship Him, and how to live so that they could continue to receive His provision and protection (Dt 30:15, 16), and most important, so that He Himself could dwell among them (Ps 15:1-5; 24:3, 4).

Wednesday: Romans 9:4
v4 (continued): Next Paul says God gave them the temple service. The word translated as “service” is a word that referred to the priestly rituals of worship that were performed in the tabernacle and temple (Heb 9:1; Ro 12:1). So Paul’s point is it was only to Israel that God revealed the design of the tabernacle with its priests, Levites and sacrificial system. This carefully orchestrated form of worship allowed His presence to remain among them.

Thursday: Romans 9:4
v4 (continued): Next Paul says the promises (plural) belonged to Israel. He does not indicate which promises he has in mind, but the fact that he felt no need to specify is in itself a clue. He assumed the answer was obvious to his readers (at least those who were Jewish). Over the centuries God had made many wonderful promises to Israel and all of them could rightfully be included in such a statement, but it is more likely that Paul is thinking of the three key promises made to Abraham (Ge 12:1-3, 7; 13:14-17; 22:16-18; Ro 4:13; 15:8; Gal 3:16-18; Heb 7:6). In effect, God had said to him, “I will give you a land, I will make you into a nation, and I will make you a spiritual blessing to all the families of the earth” (Ge 12:1-3).

Friday: Romans 9:4
v4 (continued): Paul believed the third promise of spiritual blessings was fulfilled by the fact that the Messiah was Abraham’s descendant (Ro 15:8; Gal 3:16-18). Though Abraham himself serves all generations as a great model of faith, it was Jesus, his descendant, who made salvation possible for “all the families of the earth.” So Abraham’s promises can be seen as a foundation upon which all the other promises rest, including the resurrection of the dead (Ac 13:32-33; 26:6-8), the coming of the Holy Spirit (Ac 1:4, 5; Eph 1:13; Gal 3:14) and the salvation of Gentiles (Gal 3:27-29; Eph 2:11-13).

Saturday: Romans 9:5
v5: Next Paul says the fathers belonged to Israel. The Jews are the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and based on that fact alone the promises made to those men were intended to be passed on to their descendants generation after generation. God promised to bless their children so even if those children disobey Him God will continue to pursue them (Ro 11:28, 29). They are “beloved for the sake of the fathers,” which does not mean they are automatically saved, but that God will relentlessly seek to draw them to salvation (Ro 10:21; 11:1-5, 11-16, 23).

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