Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Advent Archive: Romans 10:16-21

Have you ever been in the car when the bright red and blue lights come on in the car behind you? Perhaps you have been in the driver’s seat. If not, let me be transparent, I have been in the driver’s seat a couple of times (“a couple” means more than two, right?) I’m not sure what part of my anatomy it is, but there is this incredible lump that suddenly appears in my throat. My entire body goes into panic mode – increased heart rate, sweating all over, hyperventilating…the whole works.
It may sound fun to you, but trust me, it is horrifying. And then, the officer (with a gun!) comes to my window. At this point, I am almost in tears, and my hands are shaking as I hand him my driver’s license. You see, I have been caught. I know I am guilty. I knew the law, and I chose to ignore it. I am as guilty as they come. I could even deny it to the police officer, but he knows that I know. There is no getting out of the penalty for my crime. Later that week as I write the check, and “donate” my money to the county, I am reminded that breaking the law isn’t as fun as I thought it would be. And by the way, it would be complete nonsense to be angry at the police officer. He was just serving the justice that I violated.
This is the thought of Romans 10:18-21. God pulls Israel over and discusses what they had done wrong. He tells them that they are disobedient and gainsaying (this means: they don’t agree with God). He tells them that even though they knew what was right and often proclaimed to other nations that their God was the one true God, many times they didn’t live like they believed it. Judgment day had come for them, and they bucked against the punishment. They thought that they didn’t deserve it and cried against the punishment, but it did not affect God’s justice.
We too can be like Israel. Often bragging that we are the one true religion and that we serve the one true God, however, we can get sidetracked and fall away from full service and devotion to Him. We say that we have God’s word, and that we are separated to God, but many times we live lives that indicate a different reality. We treat others, brothers and strangers, as if God doesn’t care how we act or react to them. We withhold generosity even though we are given multiple opportunities. We live lives of apathy, never fully engaged in deep, life-exhausting worship of the one true God that we purport to follow.
Then, in love, God extends His chastening rod to draw us back into a relationship with Him. Having been “busted,” we either cry our eyes out in repentance or end up frustrated at the One who has served justice. So what do we do about it? Well, the remedy for me was to not speed, the remedy for us would be to view God as He is, adore Him in His Excellency and devote ourselves to serving Him at all times and never waver from His truth.

Food for Thought: Read Romans 10:16-21. Did Israel ever have any warning that God would move on to extend His grace to the rest of the world?