2SAMUEL 1:David returned from being sent home from the battle with Israel only to find that his town had been ransacked by the Amalekites. He found strength in God, asked for God to direct him, and succeeded in retrieving everything, and even much more. However in Israel, Saul and his three sons died, and the Israelite army was completely defeated. PSALM 107a:We come to another of my favorite psalms. In E.C. Olsen’s book on the psalms (which is a transcription of his radio programs) he said that this psalm has a message for America. That message is in the repeated refrain found in this psalm. Then Olsen gave examples of the Great Depression starting in 1929, the Dust Bowl plagues in 1933-34, and the drought of 1936. Olsen observed, “Do you think we heeded [God’s warnings]? Indeed not. … Did we cease our wicked doings? Indeed not.” And I similarly ask about the increasing pace of disasters right now. My observation is that we as a nation turned to God when we confronted the first disasters. But our turning to God lasted only a few days. Now, even as natural disasters multiply, we steadfastly talk of Climate Change and never talk about God. Consequently, we do NOT do like the people we hear about in this psalm. ROMANS 11a:As Paul said in his topic sentence in this book (Rom. 1:16-17), the way God has revealed for making people right with himself is— from start to finish, by means of fully believing. In chapter 10 we have a great and succinct summation of the content that we are to ‘fully believe’. Our confessing the belief that is in our hearts is also important. At the end of chapter 10 there are a series of Old Testament quotes. Two of those quotes are about the non-Jews. Paul was not changing his topic. He is still talking about Jewish rejection of the Gospel. The two Old Testament prophecies about the non-Jews (19-20) are quoted as a powerful sign to the Jews. This is the topic Paul continues with in chapter 11. NLT Translation notes:Rom 11:11 Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the [non-Jews//Gentiles]. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves.12 Now if the [non-Jews//Gentiles] were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.13 I am saying all this especially for you [non-Jews//Gentiles]. God has appointed me as [an//the] apostle to the [non-Jews//Gentiles]. I stress this,14 for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you [non-Jews//Gentiles] have, so I might save some of them. 16 And since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy, their descendants will also be holy—just as the entire batch of dough is holy because the portion given as an offering [to God] is holy. For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too.17 But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you [non-Jews//Gentiles], who were [like] branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree.21 For if God did not spare the original branches, he won’t spare you either [if you turn from your belief].25 I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of [non-Jews//Gentiles] comes to Christ.28 Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you [non-Jews//Gentiles]. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.30 Once, you [non-Jews//Gentiles] were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against him, God was merciful to you instead.
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