Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 11:2-6
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 11:2
v2: On several occasions in Israel’s history God promised to never reject or cast them away from Himself (e.g. Dt 31:6, 8; Jos 1:5; 1Sa 12:22; also note: Ps 94:14). When necessary He would discipline them, even severely, but His covenant with Abraham in which He had promised to bless his descendants (Ge 12:1-3; 22:17, 18) would always endure. Paul wants us to remember this foundational truth. Yes, Judaism’s response to the gospel at the time showed that faith was at a low ebb, but it did not mean God had abandoned them. When he says, “God has not rejected (apotheo) His people…” (vs1-2) he chooses the same word Samuel used (in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew) when speaking to Israel at Gilgal (1Sa 11:14-12:25).

Monday: Romans 11:2
v2 (continued): Samuel said, “For the Lord will not abandon (apotheo) His people on account of His great name” (1Sa 12:22). This word which is translated as “rejected” and “abandoned” literally means “to push or cast away.” Paul selects this word so no one will assume that because only a small number of Jews had responded to the gospel that God had ceased to honor His covenant. Israel was not an accidental people. God “foreknew” them, meaning He promised prophetically to create them before they even existed (Ge 15:5).

Tuesday: Romans 11:2
v2 (continued): In chapter eight (Ro 8:29) Paul applied the word “foreknow” to individuals, all those who are and will be saved. These he said were “predestined” by the Father to be conformed to His Son’s image. But here in this passage he speaks of God foreknowing all of Abraham’s descendants, taken collectively as a group. He foreknew a nation (“His people”), meaning all the physical descendants of Abraham, but as we’ll see in the next verses (Ro 11:2-4), He also knows which of these descendants does and does not have faith. Though few in number, each believing Jew is known by God and carries forward the covenant promises. And God’s prophetic foreknowledge has also assured Israel that they will experience a glorious restoration at the end of history. They will be regathered and blessed under the government of the Messiah (e.g. Isa 60-62; 66:7-24; Jer 33:14-26).

Wednesday: Romans 11:2
v2 (continued): The prophets foreknew Israel’s future, and in their writings we observe a people being actively cared for by God right up to the end of this age. So Israel will not only continue to exist but those alive in the latter days will still be influenced by the covenant God made with Abraham. In fact, that will be the most blessed season of their entire history. All this is “foreknown” and has been revealed in the Word, so Israel’s poor response to the gospel should be seen as merely a season of their history in which faith had dwindled. But other seasons will surely come and some day there will be a virtually universal turning to Jesus (Ro 11:25-28).

Thursday: Romans 11:2-4
vs2-4: To prove his point Paul uses an example from the life of Elijah (1Ki 19). After his fiery confrontation with the Baal prophets on Mt. Carmel, an exhausted and frightened Elijah fled south into the desert (Negev). Forty days later, hiding in a cave on the side of Mt. Sinai (Horeb) he lamented to God about the spiritual depravity of his nation. Based on what he had seen he assumed he was the only believer left (1Ki 19:10, 14), but God quickly corrected him. He told him there were actually 7,000 who had not “bowed to Baal” (1Ki 19:18). At a time in Israel’s history when faith was at such a low ebb that the prophet Elijah knew of no one else beside himself, many more believers existed than met the eye.

Friday: Romans 11:2-4
vs2-4 (continued): Even during that terrible season God preserved a “remnant,” one that was surprisingly large. The lessons Paul wants us to take from this are obvious. First, God alone knows the true count of those who are His at any given moment, and that number is probably a good deal larger than we think. And second, a remnant’s relatively small number in comparison to their entire population does not in any way reduce their spiritual significance. There was still a “remnant” in Elijah’s day and through them God’s promises faithfully passed from their generation to the next.

Saturday: Romans 11:5, 6
v5: And here’s the application: Through those believing Jews in Paul’s day, including Paul himself, the promises and prophetic destiny for Israel were indeed passing on to the generation beyond them. As He had done in the past, God was at work continuing to steward over Abraham’s descendants and would do so clear to the end of time. He had committed Himself to diligently preserve at least a remnant in every generation. This was a “gracious choice” based simply on His love and faithfulness. Paul doesn’t describe how He does this, he just tells us why. v6: No one in Israel ever earned such commitment from God. Neither Abraham nor any of his descendants received it as a reward for obeying the Law. It was, and is, undeserved kindness flowing from generation to generation, based on an undeserved promise made to Abraham simply because he had faith.

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