Romans 11: 25-36

We finish the week with a mystery, according to Paul. God forbid we take a mystery, And resort to mystification: ‘I feel so stupid, I leave it up to the theologians.’ The mystery is ‘for the time being’ (a long-time favorite of mine from W.H.Auden)

If it’s all working toward a shared end – why are out contemporaries and peers, particularly those sharing our religious roots, seeming so blind and deaf and dumb? Peterson introduces ‘hardening’ of insiders loaded with allusion to Pharaoh, Gaston says we are ‘imprisoned in disobedience’ (32) (remember ‘subjected to futility’ in c8?)

This is ‘theodicy’– why does God let bad things happen – Of course Paul quotes Job, And counsels humility – but whatever the mystery of Israel’s rejection of Paul’s gospel to the Gentiles it may be better to ask what we Christian insiders since reject of God’s revelations to humanity, for instance through Mohamed.

I find it more fruitful to attempt humility, to un-learn progressive liberal assumptions, to recognize the mystery of religious zealotry

25 For I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers-and-sisters, of this mystery, lest ye be wise for yourselves [=in your own eyes]:  [the mystery that]  a partial blindness has come on Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in.  

26 And thus all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “There will come from Zion the Redeemer; he will turn impieties from Jacob;

27 and this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins (Isa 59:20-21a; 27:9) 

28 With respect to the gospel, to be sure, they are hostile for your sake, but with respect to the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 

29 For irrevocable are the gracious gifts and calling of God. 

30 For as ye were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience,  

31 so they also now have become disobedient with respect to the mercy [shown] to you, in order that they too may now receive mercy.   

32 For God has imprisoned all [human beings] into disobedience in order that he might have mercy on all [human beings].   

33 Oh the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge!  How unsearched his judgments and how untraced his ways!  

34”For who has known the mind of YHWH? Or who has been his counselor?   

35 Or who has given to him first that it should be repaid to him?” (Isa 40:13, Job 41:11)   

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever.  

Amen. 

25 I want to lay all this out on the table as clearly as I can, friends. This is complicated.  It would be easy to misinterpret what's going on and arrogantly assume that you're royalty and they're just rabble, out on their ears for good. But that's not it at all. This hardness on the part of insider Israel toward God is temporary. Its effect is to open things up to all the outsiders so that we end up with a full house. 

26 Before it's all over, there will be a complete Israel. As it is written,  A champion will stride down from the mountain of Zion;  he'll clean house in Jacob. 

27 And this is my commitment to my people: removal of their sins. 

28 From your point of view as you hear and embrace the good news of the Message, it looks like the Jews are God's enemies. But looked at from the long-range perspective of God's overall purpose, they remain God's oldest friends. 

29 God's gifts and God's call are under full warranty never cancelled, never rescinded. 

30 There was a time not so long ago when you were on the outs with God. But then the Jews slammed the door on him and things opened up for you. 

31 Now they are on the outs. But with the door held wide open for you, they have a way back in. 

32 In one way or another, God makes sure that we all experience what it means to be outside so that he can personally open the door and welcome us back in. 

33 Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God,  this deep, deep wisdom? It's way over our heads. We'll never figure it out. 

34 Is there anyone around who can explain God?  Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do? 

35 Anyone who has done him such a huge favour that God has to ask his advice? 

36 Everything comes from him;  Everything happens through him;  Everything ends up in him.  Always glory!  Always praise!  

Yes. Yes. Yes.