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Daily Devotion for November 19, 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.
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for the Holy Spirit's Guidance
Send your Holy Spirit to deepen my worship life.
Open my heart to the gifts and cultures which surround my church.
Open my heart to the people who are different from me.
In Jesus' name, I pray.
Now may the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon me, and give me peace, in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.
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.)
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
Romans 11:25-36 (ESV)
The Mystery of Israel's Salvation
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob;
and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins."
As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.
For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?" [Isaiah 40:13]
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul begins this section by telling us why Israel has not fully accepted Christ, why it is "hardened" against the gospel. In a nutshell, Judaism is the price someone had to pay for the salvation of the world; for now, the Jews have become disobedient, by failing to accept Christ.
God has, however, promised to redeem Israel. Remember, God made promises to them in the Old Testament; they are "beloved for the sake of their forefathers". God promised Abraham, Jacob, and many other Jewish patriarchs that Israel would be redeemed if they worshipped Him and accepted his law. And God keeps his promises.
So God still loves Israel despite their disobedience. In fact, Paul tells us that God has allowed them to become disobedient, precisely because He intends to show them mercy.
If all this is somewhat puzzling to us — why would God want someone to be disobedient just so that he can forgive them? — it is somewhat puzzling to Paul himself. At the end of Romans 11, he reminds us that this is God we are dealing with. We do not and cannot "understand" Him.
In effect, Paul throws up his hands at trying to explain the mysteries of God. He seems to be overcome by the burden of writing Romans at the end of Chapter 11 and falls down on his knees, to praise God for everything Paul himself cannot understand. He stops trying to explain God and, instead, takes a moment to worship Him for his mystery and the glory.