God calls us to walk on a path that leads us home to Him. There are many paths but only one that takes us to God and one day heaven. Paul continues to explain what life is like on the path that God desires for us to find. Go ahead and read Romans 11 where we will see God’s abundant mercy.
Mercy, noun; compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. leniency. clemency. grace. (Oxford Dictionaries)
We see how Paul is always one step ahead of everyone. He anticipates people having questions in regard to understanding the love that God has for all people. He is always in faith-mode everywhere he goes. He is willing and ready to speak on Christ’s behalf with whomever will listen. He also shares a helping hand, extending the mercy that was given to him.
ASK YOURSELF: Do you keep yourself in faith-mode where you and God walk this faith journey together or are their parts of your day where you are walking independently from Him?
May we all walk like Paul.
Look at the questions Paul asks in verses 1 and 11. Back in Paul’s time, the Jews thought that God’s love was reserved for only them. Everyone else, like the Gentiles, are out of luck. But Paul is sharing the Good News of Christ that God loves everyone!
ASK YOURSELF: What do we learn about Paul from verse 1? What did God do for us, according to verse 11, that shows how much He loves us despite how often we stumble and walk disobediently?
God makes salvation available.
Paul gives an example of Elijah from 1 Kings 19 in the Old Testament which shows that God does not reject those who choose to follow Him. From verses 2-4, we see how Elijah felt like he was the only believer left and it appears he had lost hope that God was there with him.
ASK YOURSELF: What was God’s reply to Elijah; see verse 4 as well as 1 Kings 19: 10, 14, 18?
ASK YOURSELF: What did Paul say in verses 5-6 that are encouraging for us today? What do you learn about God from these verses?
In verses 7-10, Paul shares the reality of human nature. We know that God makes Himself available to ALL people because of the sacrifice that His Son made for ALL mankind. Yet, He gives each person the free will to choose if he wants to follow God or not. These verses reveal how God is all-knowing for He knows who will choose Him and who will not.
Sadly, most have not found favor with God.7
ASK YOURSELF: What are the reasons for this; see verse 8? Look at Deuteronomy 29:4 and Isaiah 29:10 for added insight.
While God closes the minds of people, Paul gives an example from what David said in Psalms 69:22-23 that also show how we shut the door on God, especially in the United States.
“Let their bountiful table become a snare, a trap that makes them think all is well. Let their blessings cause them to stumble. Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see and let their backs be bent.”9-10
ASK YOURSELF: How does a person forget God when life is good? What are some effects we see in society that reveal how people are not walking with God?
Paul moves on in verses 12-21 with showing the Gentiles how wonderful it will be when the Jews finally see the truth. Paul gives us insight into the relationship that God has with His children:
- I am to accept His offer of salvation.
- I will have life.
- I will be holy, like Abraham.
- I have been grafted into God’s family.
- I receive God’s blessings.
- I share in the rich nourishment that comes from the roots of God’s special olive tree.
- I am His branch.
- I am a part of God’s tree because I believe in Christ.
- Remain humble, keep trusting and believing, for if God did not spare the original branches, He won’t spare me either.
ADDED INSIGHT: Read 1 Corinthians 10 to deepen your knowledge so you won’t become dulled by the world and forget God. Verse 12 says, “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.”
Look at what Paul says in verse 22. God is both kind and severe.
ASK YOURSELF: To whom is God severe? To whom is God kind?
God gives us great comfort and hope in verse 23, “If the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree.”
This is mercy and grace.
Thank God that it is not a done deal when it comes to our human nature. He has so much compassion and understanding that He offers us a second chance. We fall, trip or stumble, yet He has His hand right there to help us up to try again.
Too bad we can’t tap into His reservoir of love and have the ability to live out His ways. Oh wait, we can, reread verses 25-36.
God’s mercy is for everyone!
We learn from these verses how God has the sovereignty to close hearts and open hearts. While some Jews had hard hearts, it was to help the Gentiles come to Christ. Eventually, the Jews will see. God always has a purpose for everything that He does.
ADDED INSIGHT: To see how God is purposeful, read Proverbs 16:4, Job 42:2, Proverbs 19:21 and Philippians 2:12-13.
ASK YOURSELF: What is the purpose for God’s mercy, see verses 30-32?
Paul ends chapter 11 with some direction for living with one purpose. This one purpose is God. Let’s look at what we can glean from these final verses:
- God is great in His riches, wisdom and knowledge
- It is impossible for us to understand why God does what He does.
- Who can know God’s thoughts?
- Who can give God advice?
- Who can give God so much that He would need to pay us back?
For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory.36
May we have a deeper understanding of the grace and mercy that is bestowed on us when we accept God’s way of salvation which is in Christ Jesus alone. May we be forever changed from the inside out. I will leave you with this, do you believe in Christ? Do you trust Him?