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Romans, chapter 10, begins with the Apostle Paul’s desire for the salvation of Israel.  Romans 10:1 says, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”  The chapter ends, showing the Lord’s desire and plea to Israel for their salvation.  Romans 10:21 says, “But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”  How patient and loving that the Lord, for so long, reached out to this nation, but they disobeyed and opposed Him.  The Lord Jesus, Himself, said in Luke 13:34, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!”  Speaking of the Lord Jesus, we read in John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

Now let’s read Romans 10:17-20, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.”  Faith comes through hearing the Word of God.  Had not Israel heard the Word of God?  Yes, indeed, they had, but it takes more than listening ears.  It takes a listening heart to really understand and appreciate the good news of salvation.  “Their sound”, as it says in verse 18, went into all the earth.  Their sound is the sound of all of God’s created universe declaring God’s person and power even as we read in Romans 1:19-20, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

Paul goes on to say in verse 19, “Did not Israel know?”  Did not Israel understand this plan of God that He would offer salvation to whosoever would believe on Him?  Did the Lord not tell them that if they were unfaithful God would extend His mercy to the Gentiles?  Quoting from Deuteronomy 32:21, Paul shows that the Lord had indeed warned the Israelites that He would provoke them to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation He would anger them.

Paul then speaks of the boldness of Isaiah when he wrote in Isaiah 65:1, “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.”  In his bold language, Isaiah had quoted the Lord as being found by the Gentiles; a people who weren’t even looking for Him.  So many Gentiles did not seek the Lord, but many did respond to the Gospel when they heard the offer of salvation.  An example of the rejection of the Lord by the Jews is found in Acts 13:44-46, “And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”  Because of the unbelief of the Jews, the Gospel was sent to the Gentiles.

It would not be proper to read this portion without also reading Romans, chapter 11 to get an understanding of the providence of God is setting aside the nation of Israel and bringing in the Gentiles.  I encourage you to read this very instructive and important chapter.  (112.3)