Romans 10:18-21 (New Living Translation)
18 But I ask, have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have: “The message has gone throughout the earth, and the words to all the world.” 19 But I ask, did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, God said, “I will rouse your jealousy through people who are not even a nation. I will provoke your anger through the foolish Gentiles.” 20 And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying, “I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.” 21 But regarding Israel, God said, “All day long I opened my arms to them, but they were disobedient and rebellious.”
Recently, I watched a video clip of a pastor preaching on the streets of Toronto, Canada. His message was one of love and forgiveness for all humanity. Within a very short time, a mob had assembled and were trying to shut him up. They surrounded him and began to chant loudly to prevent him being heard. A few minutes later, the police arrived and arrested the pastor for ‘disturbing the peace. From what I saw, it was clear that the pastor wasn’t the one making all the noise. He was physically assaulted and yet no-one else was arrested. Police stood by and watched as violence was threatened and did nothing as people tried to steal the pastor’s personal possessions. After the pastor was detained, several other members of his team stayed behind to talk to some of the crowd. There were a few people who commented that they had nothing against the pastor or against his team. However, they shouted “We don’t want to hear that message.”
In our verses today, Paul firstly asks the question “Have they heard the message?” He is speaking particularly in relation to Israel but I believe that this applies in general to all people. The answer to the question is “Yes, they have heard”. Paul is stating here once again that even if no-one has spoken to them directly, God has revealed Himself to them in many ways and no-one is innocent. We have all heard from God in one way or another. The second question is “What if they didn’t understand the message?” Well, in the same way as my illustration demonstrated earlier, the issue isn’t whether they understood the message or not, the problem is that they wilfully rejected the message. Christ is indeed a rock of offence to so many people. Despite this rejection, we read in verse 21 that God continues to stretch out His arms to them in love. My prayer is that we continue to preach the message of Jesus and trust in the Lord as He draws men and women to Himself.
This is the last devotion of this current period and I will be taking a summer break. New devotions will be sent out in September but I pray that you continue to read and study His Word during this break.