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Daily Devotion for November 15, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
An early Statler Brothers gospel recording of He Is There.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
Romans 11:1-5 (ESV)
I ask, then, has God rejected his people? Absolutely not!
For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?
But what is God’s reply to him?
So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
Notes on the Scripture
God is not like a fickle shopper, who returns a shirt to the store because he decides he doesn't like it after all. He didn't choose the Hebrews and then simply discard them. Paul wants to make this clear, because he has spent so much time showing that the status of the Jewish nation has changed. Not only is God's covenant fulfilled to the Gentiles, but many Jews (especially the leaders) are in a worse position than Gentiles; for they have a fixed idea about the relationship of God and man, and they have difficulty accepting the gospel because of it.
One might say that they "should" not have a problem, because all of Judaic history and literature is filled with the promise of a Messiah, a descendant of David to be born in Bethlehem. But "should" is a tricky word. In practice, they are comfortable with the way things are; many Jews of the day would rather live in the world they know, where the Messiah is perpetually to come some day in the future.
But to say God abandoned the Jews ignores all of what Paul has argued before; for their righteousness was one of faith all along, not one of law. Those who truly have faith, will find that their faith leads them to Christ. Throughout their history, many (and sometimes most) Jews did not participate in the old covenant. Paul cites Elijah during one of the darkest hours of Judaic history, when it seemed all of Israel had fallen away from the Lord.
In summary, Paul is saying that things are no different for the Jews now than before. Israel was never 100% faithful to God and never 100% unfaithful. Even at the time of Elijah's plaint, God kept 7,000 Hebrews faithful to Him. The time of Paul is just the same; the Jews of faith will accept the gospel joyfully, and those without faith will fall away, just as they have always done.