Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 10:18-11:1
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 10:18
v18: Having just admitted that people cannot be held responsible for not believing a gospel they’ve never heard (vs13, 17), Paul speaks from the perspective of those defending Judaism’s poor response. They claimed that Jews hadn’t believed simply because they hadn’t had the chance to hear yet: “But I say, surely they have never heard have they?” To which Paul answers, “Indeed they have…” (lit: “no, but rather…”), and then quotes from Psalm 19 which opens, “the heavens are declaring the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Ps 19:1). In this psalm David tells us that the silent testimony of the heavens constantly proclaims to all humanity God’s glory as their Creator.

Monday: Romans 10:18, 19
v18 (continued): Paul quotes this to make a comparison. In effect, he’s saying, “The gospel has been preached to the region’s Jewish communities as thoroughly as the heavens testify to God’s glory.” His point is to say that Judaism has been evangelized as completely as is humanly possible. No one should underestimate how extensively and energetically this task had been done (Rom 15:17-24). v19: He also replies again to the other argument used to explain widespread Jewish unbelief (v16) which is that those who did hear, didn’t understand. He gives voice to this excuse by saying “But I say, Israel did not know, did they?” He answers by quoting from the song Moses wrote at the end of his life (Dt 32:1-43).

Tuesday: Romans 10:19
v19 (continued): Moses concludes his rehearsal of Israel’s history and the terms of their covenant with a very negative assessment of the nation’s spiritual future. He says, “For I know that after my death, you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you, and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands” (Dt 31:29). Then he proceeded to read (or sing) a song full of prophetic warning. The song predicts that Israel will become prosperous and then turn to other gods, which he says are actually demons (Dt 32:17). God will respond to this by pouring His blessings on the Gentiles instead (Dt 32:21) and bringing curses on Israel. Yet through it all, He will mercifully preserve a remnant whom He will defend and atone.

Wednesday: Romans 10:19-21
v19 (continued): This is the context of the verse Paul selects. He quotes Moses’ words, “I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, by a nation without understanding will I anger you.” (Dt 32:21). He assumes his readers know Moses’ song and those who are Jews certainly will, so his point is this: ignorance is not the cause of this widespread rejection of our Messiah. What we are seeing is the result of the long-term spiritual decline, which Moses prophesied, and of God turning to the Gentiles just as He said He would. vs20, 21: To reinforce his point he adds two more verses from Isaiah (Isa 65:1, 2). In chapter 62, God told Isaiah He would appoint “watchmen” (intercessors) to tirelessly remind Him of His promise to make “Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isa 62:6, 7).

Thursday: Romans 10:20, 21
vs20, 21 (continued): In response, Isaiah then recorded his own prayer to serve as an example of how a “watchman” ought to pray (Isa 63:7-64:12). As we read his prayer we recognize what might be called “identificational repentance.” On behalf of his sinful nation he reminded the Lord of His covenant with Abraham, described the spiritual deadness of Jerusalem, and called on God to be merciful. God’s reply to Isaiah’s prayer begins with the words Paul quotes. He tells Isaiah that many Gentiles would come to Him, but only a remnant in Israel (Isa 65:1-7). He would indeed reach out to Israel in response to such prayers. He would “spread out His hands all day long” inviting them to come to Him, but most would remain rebellious and refuse. Again, Paul’s point is to say Israel had no one to blame but themselves. Even Moses and the prophets had said this would happen.

Friday: Romans 11:1
v1: So is it pointless to present the gospel to the Jews? Are Moses and Isaiah saying Israel would become so hard they would never listen? Does this mean God’s covenant with Abraham had come to an end? Has He finally “put (Israel) away” from Himself? Using one of the strongest forms of rejection in the Greek language (may it never be!) Paul says, in effect, may such a thought not even come into existence! These words flow from him with strong emotion. To suggest such a thing is not only inaccurate, it’s blasphemous and shouldn’t be uttered. Which, of course, is correct since God swore to His own destruction that He would never break His promise to Abraham (Ge 15:5-21).

Saturday: Romans 11:1
v1 (continued): Yes, the number of Jewish believers was small at that time, but they did exist. And Paul holds himself up as proof saying “For I, too, am an Israelite, a descendant (seed) of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” In other words, there aren’t many of us, but the promise goes on! It’s true that Moses and the prophets predicted a season of hardness, but their predictions didn’t end on a note of despair. They looked forward to a day when there will be a great restoration of Israel under the leadership of the Messiah (Dt 30:1-10; Isa 52:7-10; 59:15-20; 61:1-11, etc.). There is a glorious hope that has yet to be fulfilled in the future and this is the theme Paul will develop in chapter 11.

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