Sunday: Romans 11:7
v7: Paul shortens the question, What shall we say then? (Ro 9:14, 30) to What then? alerting us to the fact that he will now answer the main question that arises from what he has just said, which is: If God has not abandoned His covenant with Israel, then what is their status? The underlying issue is the question, are they saved or not? In other words, can they reject the gospel and still find salvation without Jesus? To answer this Paul returns to a theme he has developed throughout this letter: every human, whether Jew or Gentile, is sinful and in desperate need of forgiveness (Ro 2:12; 3:9, 19, 20, 23; 5:12). So he says once again, What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained... meaning, those Jews who are trying to become righteous by keeping the Law have fallen short. They havent arrived at their sought-after destination, they havent reached their goal.
Monday: Romans 11:7
v7 (continued): Instead, he says, God has chosen to give His righteousness to those who responded to the gospel with faith (Ro 9:11; 1Co 1:27, 28). The very act of refusing to believe it left many spiritually damaged by the experience. Closing their minds to the witness of the Holy Spirit left them in a hardened (poros) condition. They would find it more difficult to believe the next time they heard. Their capacity to hear and see spiritual truth would become dulled as if their spirit were now covered by a thickening callous of skin (poros: a thick skin) (2Co 3:14; Mk 3:5).
Tuesday: Romans 11:8
v8: Moses and Isaiah both warned Israel about this kind of hardening. Paul mixes statements from each to describe the damage that takes place inside an individual. Isaiah had said, For the Lord has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes (Isa 29:10, literal). This, he said, was the divine response to those who had already blinded themselves, who had become drunk but not with wine
(Isa 29:9). Moses told Israel that in spite of all the miracles they had seen, Yet the Lord has not given you a heart to know and eyes to see and ears to hear
(Dt 29:4). And clearly he considered them personally responsible for bringing this divine judgment on themselves because he said the solution would be for them to turn back to the Lord your God and listen to His voice
with all your heart and with all your soul
Wednesday: Romans 11:9, 10
vs9-10: Verses seven and eight reveal the internal damage that takes place when someone rejects the gospel, but here in verses nine and ten Paul warns that a terrible divine justice is unleashed upon those who persecute the righteous. The hardening that had taken place in some Jews had erupted into violent persecution. Paul himself had been one of the worst during the early years of the church (Ac 8:1-3; 9:1-6). But God does not passively stand by when those who love Him are treated brutally. A fearsome justice which is vividly described in Psalm 69, moves into action.
Thursday: Romans 11:9, 10
vs9-10 (continued): The Psalm (69) was written by David as a plea for deliverance from religious persecution and in it he calls for retribution on those who had hurt him. The psalmist has been dishonored and attacked by many enemies, not because he did anything wrong, but purely because of his zeal for God (Ps 69:7, 9). The hostility people felt toward God was turned against him. As a result he was estranged from his own family (v8). He was the subject of ridicule (vs11-12). His life was in jeopardy (v15). He had been left heartbroken and alone (v20).
Friday: Romans 11:9, 10
vs9-10 (continued): So in his misery he cried out for justice. He called on God to punish his persecutors, asking that they experience the same suffering that they had imposed on him. They had spoiled his food, so he asked that their table become a snare (v22). His eyesight had failed because he had cried so much (v3), so he asked that their eyes grow dim so that they cannot see and that their backs be bowed down with the same weight of fear and sorrow as they had placed on him (v3). Pauls point in introducing this psalm is to bring out the fact that many of those who were being hardened were also becoming angry and violent, physically persecuting those who presented the gospel to them.
Saturday: Romans 11:9, 10
vs9-10 (continued): As Paul describes it, the hardening process taking place at that time involved two levels of danger. Individually, people were damaging their own spiritual capacity, which in turn caused God to withdraw His Spirit. But sadly this spiritual damage often grew until it produced open religious persecution. Innocent people, whose only offense was that they loved God and were proclaiming His salvation, were being attacked. This was the same situation David wrote about in his psalm: people cruelly persecuting innocent people merely because of their zeal for God. But as David warns, those who do so invite upon themselves divine retribution. God will see to it that they experience the same suffering that they bring upon His servants. The prayers of Psalm 69 will be turned against them. This is the dynamic that Jesus mercifully disarmed by His prayer during the crucifixion, Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing (Lk 23:34), and thankfully Stephen did the same for Paul (Ac 7:57-60).