Romans 9 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“I speak the truth in Messiah – I am not lying, my conscience is testifying to me with the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) – that I have intense sorrow and continual anguish in my heart. For I wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from the Messiah for the benefit of my brothers, my countrymen by physical descent. They are Israelites and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple service, and the promises. The forefathers are theirs and from them, by physical descent came the Messiah, Who is G_d over all, blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 9:1-5
The more time I spend with the L_rd, through the personal daily disciplines of Bible reading & prayer; I sometimes find myself fighting-off a profound loneliness. Have you ever felt that way? On one hand, I am so overjoyed to spend time with G_d and learn from Him. On the other hand, I find myself drifting further and further from some of my friends, many of whom are professing believers, yet hardly ever spend time with G_d.
My pursuit of the Lord has led to complete estrangement from some individuals within that “circle of friends”. That is simply the result of the compounding effects of the world’s influence on them and the Spirit’s influence on me. Their Worldly pursuits have muddied their “Living Water” and my pursuit of the Lord has become “Anointing Oil” for me…and we all know oil & water don’t mix.
In moments of fleshly nostalgia, I sometimes wish I weren’t a believer for a moment, so I could hang out with those old friends again, unhindered by the tension that my faith evokes within our relationship. Of course, we cannot give-in to such fantasies, the passionate cries of the flesh to take a “day-trip” to Egypt, as it were.
Meditating on today’s passage, I wonder if that loneliness & longing to connect with a people who had mostly rejected him, hadn’t crept into Paul’s thinking. I wonder if that’s not the emotion prompting him to bear his soul in such a way, to the Messianic community in Rome.
My heart is broken for the Jewish people in such a way that it seems almost embarrassing to mention. ½ Gentile Baptist by Southern upbringing, and ½ Jewish by birth, I’m probably closer to a Samaritan than a Jew. Still, I choose to identify primarily with Israel.
Whenever I travel to Israel, there is a strong tendency for me to pull-on the tallit and kippa, and simply disappear into the religious culture. To do this would mean never sharing the truth of Messiah, or sharing-in the persecution of Paul and countless other Messianic Jews who have come before me. To do so would be the most selfish thing imaginable, for the most anti-Semitic thing I could do is to withhold Messiah from the Jewish people! In the words of Paul, to leave behind Yeshua is to leave behind G_d!
No, I must take my cue from Paul. I will feel the flesh’s pull, and by the Ruach’s power, I will overcome it; standing on the shoulders of those faithful ones who went before me, and heeding the higher call of Messiah.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Friday, August 23, 2013