Morning Prayer: 29 August – Romans 9:30-33 ~ the stumbling stone

Reading through Romans

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening sentence

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
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A reading from Romans: Romans 9:30-33 (NLT)

Out of stone: Bete Giyorgis, one of the 11 rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Ehtiopia during the celebration of the Epiphany - the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.

Out of stone: Bete Giyorgis, one of the 11 rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Ehtiopia during the celebration of the Epiphany – the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.

What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said,

“I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”
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Reflection: Romans 9:30-33 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)

The plan of God for Jews and Gentiles: (Romans 9–11)

The dominant theme [of these three chapters] is Jewish unbelief, together with the problems which it raised…. Each chapter handles a different aspect of God’s relation to Israel, past, present and future:

  1. Israel’s fall (9: 1– 33): God’s purpose of election
  2. Israel’s fault (10: 1– 21): God’s dismay over her disobedience
  3. Israel’s future (11: 1– 32): God’s long-term design
  4. Doxology (11: 33– 36): God’s wisdom and generosity

Israel’s fall: God’s purpose of election (9:1–33)

Question 4: What then shall we say in conclusion? (30–33).

Faced with the unbelief of the majority of Israel and the minority status of believing Israel, how have these things come about?

The situation [Paul] describes is completely topsy-turvy….  The Jews who pursued righteousness never reached it; the Gentiles who did not pursue it laid hold of it….   Israel is proud, pursuing righteousness in the wrong way, by works instead of faith, and so has stumbled over the stumbling-block of the cross (30–33)….  They stumbled over… Christ crucified.

Why do people stumble over the cross? Because it undermines our self-righteousness…. The fact that Christ died for our sins is proof positive that we cannot save ourselves. But to make this humiliating confession is an intolerable offense to our pride. So instead of humbling ourselves, we ‘stumble over the stumbling-stone’.

The primary affirmation [here] is that God himself has laid down a solid rock or stone… Jesus Christ….  Everybody has to decide how to relate to this rock which God has laid down. There are only two possibilities. One is to put our trust in him, to take him as the foundation of our lives and build on him. The other is to bark our shins against him, and so to stumble and fall.

Thus this chapter about Israel’s unbelief begins with God’s purpose of election (6–29) and concludes by attributing Israel’s fall to her own pride (30–33).
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Awake O Israel – Zeal of God – I Lay in Zion


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Canticle

Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life around the World, Life in America, Life in Christ

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