ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 206


“I was found by people who were not looking for me.
I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.”
But regarding Israel, God said,
“All day long I opened my arms to them,
but they were disobedient and rebellious.”
I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course
not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of
the tribe of Benjamin.
No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very
beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the
prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said, “Lord,
they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only
one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
And do you remember God’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others
who have never bowed down to Baal!”
It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained
faithful because of God’s grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing
them. And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good
works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free
and undeserved.
So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the
favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God
has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened. As the Scriptures
“God has put them into a deep sleep.
To this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see,
and closed their ears so they do not hear.”
Likewise, David said,
“Let their bountiful table become a snare,
a trap that makes them think all is well.
Let their blessings cause them to stumble,
and let them get what they deserve.
Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see,
and let their backs be bent forever.”
Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not!
They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles.
But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel

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