Romans Chapter 11 –
Paul completes his three chapter address of the fact that the Jews missed the Messiah here in chapter 11. He emphasizes again that God did not completely reject Israel, for Paul himself is a Jew, and there is always going to be a remnant, until the entire nation will one day believe.
Verse 11 reads, “Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.” This speaks to a great truth. Very often, God is able to use transgressions or struggles in our own lives to bring about good.
My wife Susan and I have learned from mistakes in our marriage, and have shared those revelations with others. I know of people who have wrestled with drug addiction who have then participated in programs to help others who are still wrestling. In a very public example, Abby Johnson is a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston, who came to the revelation that what was going on there was wrong, and began a ministry to combat abortion. (There is a movie titled Unplanned opening in theaters this month about her experience.)
So, yes, things in our lives that we are not proud of can indeed be used for good and for God’s glory. But Paul continues in verse 12, “But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater will their fullness bring!” When we are fulfilling our purpose in Christ, that is when we are going to be used to our fullness!
This reminds me of the movie Monsters Inc. You know the story. The monsters snuck into kids rooms at night, in order to scare them and collect their screams. They then used the screams as a power source for the monster city. Yes, it worked, but at a cost, and with a huge amount of effort. But (spoiler alert) at the end of the movie, it was discovered that laughter was a far more powerful power source, that was much easier to collect. Maybe this analogy is a stretch, but the point is that God would rather us make good choices (the laughter) and work with that instead of having to work with our mistakes (the screams.)
Speaking of analogies, Paul makes the analogy of Gentiles being a branch grafted onto the tree of Israel. But he warns the Gentiles not to become arrogant or look down upon the Jews because they do not believe. Paul says, “do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.”
There is a lot of anti-semitism in the world today. New York City police records indicate that Jews are the most targeted group in regards to hate crimes. There are many reasons for this hate, but let’s make sure we are not counted among the anti-semites of the world. God is going to save a remnant of Israel in the last days. I for one do not want to stand against God’s chosen people then or now.