Sunday: Paul’s Burden

“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel” (Exod. 19:6).

God needed a missionary people to evangelize a world steeped in paganism, darkness, and idolatry. He chose the Israelites and revealed Himself to them.

Paul's Burden for All

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He planned that they become a model nation and thus attract others to the true God. It was God’s purpose that by the revelation of His character through Israel the world should be drawn unto Him. Through the teaching of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto Him should live. As the numbers of Israel increased, as their blessings grew, they were to enlarge their borders until their kingdom should embrace the world.

Read Romans 9:1-12. What point is Paul making here about the faithfulness of God amid human failures?

Paul is building a line of argument in which he will show that the promise made to Israel had not completely failed. There exists a remnant through whom God still aims to work. To establish the validity of the idea of the remnant, Paul dips back into Israelite history. He shows that God has always been selective: (1) God did not choose all the seed of Abraham to be His covenant, only the line of Isaac. (2) He did not choose all of the descendants of Isaac, only those of Jacob.

It’s important, too, to see that heritage, or ancestry, does not guarantee salvation. You can be of the right blood, the right family, even of the right church, and yet still be lost, still be outside the promise. It is faith, a faith that works by love, that reveals those who are “children of the promise” (Rom. 9:8).

Look at the phrase in Romans 9:6: “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” What important message can we find there for ourselves, as Adventists, who in many ways play the same roles in our era that the ancient Israelites did in theirs?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons