Week of February 24 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Romans 11:7-10

What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written,

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that would not see
    and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.”

And David says,

“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
    a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
    and bend their backs forever.” 

Reflect: Who is ultimately in control of both the Gentiles’ reception and the Jews’ rejection of the gospel? What are the implications of this reality for us today?

Consider: Paul then discussed what “a remnant chosen by grace” out of Israel meant for the people as a whole. The situation was ironic. The Jews zealously sought to be accepted by God on the basis of works and the righteousness of the Law (cf. 10:2–3). However, they were not accepted by God; only the elect were, because of God’s sovereign choice by grace. The others were hardened (cf. 11:25). What it means to be hardened is seen from Paul’s explanatory and supporting quotations. The first is taken from both Deuteronomy 29:3–4 and Isaiah 29:10, and indicates that hardening involves spiritual drowsiness (stupor is the rendering of katanyxeōs, “a numbness resulting from a sting”), blindness, and deafness (cf. Isa. 6:9–10).4

Respond: What does Paul’s quotation of David’s prayer from Psalm 69:22-23 say about the seriousness of unbelief and God’s purposes in judgment? What, then, must belief result in?

4 John A. Witmer, “Romans,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 483.