Romans 11 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional

“I ask then, have they stumbled so as to fall? Absolutely not! On the contrary, by their stumbling, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous. Now, if their stumbling brings riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full number bring!” Romans 11: 11-12

In today’s passage, Paul is suggesting a quasi role reversal between non-Messianic Jews and followers of Yeshua. Paul describes how the L_rd allows the integrated (Jew & Gentile) Messianic Community to act as a “bride”, a role Israel had previously exclusively held. Consider the words of the prophet Jeremiah.

“‘Look, the days are coming’ – The L_rd’s declaration – ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. This one will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. – a covenant they broke, even though I MARRIED them.’ – The L_rd’s declaration.’” Jeremiah 31:31-32 (emphasis mine)

And now the words of Paul…

“For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy because I have promised you in marriage to one husband – to present a pure virgin to Messiah.” 2 Corinthians 11:2

I want to be sure to stress that I am not suggesting “replacement theology”, which is the teaching that the “Church” has replaced Israel in G_d’s heart. A primary goal of Paul’s letter to the Romans was to counteract the “replacement” message as heresy and contra to G_d’s heart for Israel.

The role reversals between Messianic Gentiles and non-Messianic Jews are put forth by Paul for at least two reasons: 1) That the non-believing Jews would become jealous for a saving relationship with G_d through Yeshua, by observing G_d’s love & favor toward the Gentile believers. This G_dly love was previously believed to be exclusively for Jews. 2) To expose how, given similar “chosen” status, Gentiles could fall into the same religious pride as the Jews. In fact, Paul addresses a growing prejudice against the Jews by Gentile believers.

This leads us to two obvious questions: 1) Do you live a life of faith that would make Jewish people jealous for your relationship with G_d...or anyone else, for that matter? 2) Has spiritual pride caused you to look down on others, to the point where you have forgotten the L_rd’s grace to you? There is no personal boasting for anyone saved by Grace, Jew of Gentile.

“When the L_rd your G_d drives them (Canaanites) out before you, do not say to yourself, ‘The L_rd brought me in to take possession of this land, because of MY righteousness.’ Instead, the L_rd will drive out these nations before you because of THEIR wickedness.” Deut 9: 4 (emphasis mine)

~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Shuvah Yisrael
Daily Devotional, Sunday, August 25, 2013