Hello! Today's reading is another great example of Paul not forsaking the Jewish people in favor of the gentiles as he writes that he would do anything to help Israel restore their relationship with God. He also suggests a theory as to why they fail, and it's one that I believe we can easily stumble on now too. (Read Romans 9:31-32) However, depending on your theological beliefs about the "one God" theory for the primary monotheistic religions (Jewish, Islam, Christianity) you might find part of today's reading difficult or uncomfortable. But that also makes for great reading!
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider / Review
What is the difference between going through the motions (following the laws) vs trusting God? (Romans 9: 31-32)
Is God selective only to those that are descends of Isaac and not Ishmael? (consider reviewing Genesis) What implications does this have in both situations?
What about this text feels like it speaks to you? Why is that so?
- Commentary -
The only problem that this text might elicit is the suggestion from Paul that God only choose to bless the family of Isaac. To those familiar with Genesis this isn't that surprising as God makes it clear to Isaac that his family would become a great nation. However, Paul is only quoting part of Genesis in this case as God also promises Abraham that a great nation would prosper from Ishmael as well. The descends of Ishmael are the modern day Muslims as their holy book picks up where Ishmael and Hagar leave in the Old Testament. If we take Paul at his word than they are not selected by God than we have to wonder what God means by the great nation God would create under Ishmael too? Anyways, I don't mean to ramble on, but as Paul says we shouldn't get caught up in the specifics of singular lines of 'the law' (Bible) and instead just focus on our relationship with God and others.
I also have a Bible Project video for us today as well on historical context. This is such an important consideration when studying scripture!
Praying the Hymns
Our prayer for today is inspired by hymn 297 - Beneath the Cross of Jesus.
1. Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand, the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land; a home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way, from the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.
2. Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see the very dying form of One who suffered there for me; and from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess: the wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.
3. I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place; I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of his face; content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss, my sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.