The Remnant of Israel
Rom 11:1 I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
Rom 11:2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?
Rom 11:3 “Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED YOUR PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN YOUR ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE.”
Rom 11:4 But what is the divine response to him? “I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.”
Rom 11:5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.
Rom 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
Rom 11:7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;
Rom 11:8 just as it is written, “GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY.”
Rom 11:9 And David says, “LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM.
Rom 11:10 “LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT, AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER.”
vs1-4 – Paul makes a very strong statement to the Church in Rome after concluding with chapter 10 where he ends with “But as for Israel He says, “ALL THE DAY LONG I HAVE STRETCHED OUT MY HANDS TO A DISOBEDIENT AND OBSTINATE PEOPLE.” Romans 10:21. That statement is that God as not rejected His people Israel. He puts out that He is an Israelite, and God has chosen him for a work among the gentiles. He has not rejected them. Paul clearly states God has no rejected His people ‘who He has foreknew’. Throughout their history He has has had a plan for Israel, and because of this He will not reject them. Remember, God does not change. In 1 Kings 19:10-19 we see where God told Elijah that there would be a remnant of seven thousand that would not bow the knee to Baal.
So, when did the majority of Israel bow to Baal? During the ‘contest’ where Elijah called upon God while the prophets of Baal called out to Baal to send fire down to accept the sacrifices each was giving. Of course, the true God of Israel consumed the sacrifice and therefore Elijah won, then ran away to save himself. At this time, Ahab was the king of Israel and Jezebel was queen. Ahab was one in a line of increasingly evil kings in Israel’s history. Jeroboam said that King Ahab “did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him” (see 1 Kings 16:30. He married an evil woman named Jezebel who distinctly hated God’s people. And because of his marriage to this pagan woman, and the weakness of Ahab, He ended up devoting himself to the worship of Baal and Asherah, the gods of Jezebel. (See 1 Kings 16:31-33). Speaking of Jezebel, this name has become synonymous with evil; the epitome of an evil women. She was the daughter of Ethbaal of Tyre, the priest-king of the cruel god Baal. He, Ethbaal, murdered his brother in order to take over the throne in Tyre. Jezebel followed after her father and was herself a power-hungry murderer who stopped at nothing to get what she wanted. What a leadership in Israel.
Because of this evil, Elijah called out to God saying, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 1 Kings 19:14. Elijah felt he was the last person in Israel to stay fir with God. However, God clears this up, saying “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:18.
vs5-6 – Paul here uses the idea of those who would not bow the knee to Baal, but stayed true to God to represent those Jews who will accept Christ as the Messiah and by His work on the cross, be saved by faith. Salvation not as the Jews see it, but as God laid it out, through the Christ. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10.
vs7-8 – What is the real state of the case before us? Israel – the body of the Jewish people, have not obtained that which they so earnestly desire, i.e. to be continued, as they have been before, the peculiar people of God; but the elect have obtained it – as many of them as have believed in Jesus Christ, and accepted salvation through him: this is the grand scheme of the election by grace; God chooses to make those his peculiar people who believe in his Son, and none other shall enjoy the blessings of his kingdom. Those who would not receive him are blinded; they have shut their eyes against the light, and are in the very circumstances of those mentioned by the Prophet Isaiah. (See Isaiah 29:10-24)
vs9-10 – These two verses are quoted from Psalm 69:22-23. The meaning is this. The word “table” denotes food. In this they expected pleasure and support. David prays that even this, where they expected joy and refreshment, might prove to them the means of punishment and righteous retribution. A snare is that by which birds or wild beasts were taken. They are decoyed into it, or walk or fly carelessly into it, and it is sprung suddenly on them. So of the Jews. The petition is, that while they were seeking refreshment and joy, and anticipating at their table no danger, it might be made the means of their ruin. The only way in which this could be done would be, that their temporal enjoyments would lead them away from God and produce stupidity and indifference to their spiritual interests. This is often the result of the pleasures of the table, or of seeking sensual gratifications.
The apostle does not say whether this prayer was right or wrong. The use which he seems to make of it is this, that David’s imprecation was to be regarded in the light of a prophecy; that what he prayed for would come to pass; and that this had actually occurred in the time of the apostle; that their very enjoyments, their national and private privileges, had been the means of alienating them from God; had been a snare to them; and was the cause of their blindness and infidelity. This also is introduced in the psalm as a punishment for giving him vinegar to drink; and their treatment of the Messiah was the immediate cause why all this blindness had come upon the Jews. “They also gave me gall for my food And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” Psalm 69:21.