Our last question today has a great and deep meaning within the wording. It asks the question, “where has God strategically placed you…”
That is a truth that we often forgot. Every place we are, everything we do, everything that happens to us is where God has “strategically” placed us in that moment. Some of it is a destination, such as God has placed me in a loving relationship with my wife. Some is a transition, such as God is allowing me to go through difficulties with work and family. Some lasts for a long time. Some lasts for a day or a moment. Some lasts forever (my relationship with Him). But every situation is a situation that God, who is in control of all, has strategically place me in at that very moment.
We minimize and underestimate God. We forget His word in Jeremiah that before He formed us in our mother’s womb He knew us and set us apart. There are no accidents in the hands of the Almighty! But all too often we think that if we don’t understand then there is no meaning or no strategic reason for something, i.e., that it is just happenstance, circumstantial, an accident.
The only way to support this world-view is to assume a distant and uninvolved God. One who sets things in motion and then gets out of the way and watches, maybe periodically intervening, as things spin randomly. But there is absolutely zero support for this view in the scripture. Instead, we see a God who is constantly engaged and working. Two chapters back, in Romans 8, we read that God works all for the good… It doesn’t say God works some or that God lets all. No, it says God is sovereign, completely in control and completely actively working and engaged.
Why then didn’t all of the Jews believe? Why do some people to this day turn away from the good news and not believe? It isn’t because God didn’t do something. It is because they do not want His gift. One of the biggest stumbling blocks of accepting the Gift of Christ is accepting that we don’t do it on our own, He did it for us. It means we are not only not gods, we aren’t even able to save our own lives and, not only that, but He doesn’t even need any of our help. The stumbling block hasn’t changed. The Jews wanted a Messiah, God with us. They didn’t want a Messiah, us with God. The wanted a god who would come along side them, support them, lead them, be with them, they wanted a helper, a guide, someone they could use to rise up and dominate the world. But God didn’t need their help, He paid the price in full and then issued the invitation to join Him. They wanted a god who would join their club, not the other way around. Do you see the same in the unbelievers around you?
He is retracing verses 14 and 15 in relation to the Jews. It was preached, it was heard, it was understood but they did not believe.
hearing is being within earshot of something speaking the truth. Understanding is to have a receptive ground for the seed to be planted, to have a desire and openness. Believe is to take it to heart
the Messiah-rejecting Jews: God would bring the gentiles close to Him to make the Israelites jealous so they would respond, but they did not. God has stretched out His hands to them, but they chose disobedience and to be contrary to Him
Workplace with employees and clients and other business owners. By sharing the truth of the gospel, the depths of God’s love.