Monday, 9 September 2013
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. Romans 10:1
The NU text for this verse, upon which many translations are based, states, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.” (NASB)
The intent is the same either way. It is Israel who was being spoken of in 9:27-33. Whether they were named by Paul specifically or not, this verse either implicitly or explicitly is speaking of Israel and only Israel. It’s important to understand this because, time and again Paul will speak of Israel as a united group of people who are his brethren, the Jews. He never speaks of the church as Israel, nor does he speak of Israel transitioning into the church. Accepting this, verse 10:1 can only mean one thing – Paul’s “heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel (the Jewish people) is that they may be saved.”
Salvation had come to the gentiles and those few Jews who had received their Messiah (the remnant of verse 9:27). Those Jews who had called on Jesus were not the impetus for a great movement of their people and a national salvation, but a small group from the nation. In large part, Israel had rejected their King.
Paul’s “heart’s desire” reflects the seat of his will, mind, and hopes. The word is kardias from which we derive our word cardio (heart). Though they had beaten him, mocked him, chased after him, and intended to kill him, the affection of his heart was for his brethren in the flesh. He had no room in himself to desire anything but their calling on Jesus and being saved; a great national revival.
The salvation he is speaking of is that of individual salvation, but that which would spread to individuals throughout the nation. Someday this will occur as is promised in both the Old Testament and, as we will see, in Chapter 11. But before this occurs, the tribulation period will come and Israel will be refined as a people. When they are so broken that there is no hope left, Christ Jesus will return and rescue them. This is clearly taught in the Bible and it is so spoken by the mouth of the Lord also. And so “all Israel will be saved.”
Life application: Salvation is an individual occurrence. Each person must come to the Lord and call on Him personally. But individual occurrences can translate into national revivals. It has happened in both biblical times and in great movements since then. It is the wise and understanding soul who would pray for his leaders and his nation when they are living contrary to the truth of the gospel. Even today, our leaders are promoting filth and wickedness, but it is right that we should pray for their hearts to turn to the Lord.
Heavenly Father, today I pray for our nation’s wayward leaders. They have promoted wickedness which must reach to the highest heavens, but You would rather that they turn from this and be saved. And so, despite their current policies and direction, I pray for my president and leaders. May their eyes be opened to the truth of the good news of Jesus and His gospel. Should they humble themselves before You, then once again I will pray for the prosperity of my country. Bless God, America. Amen.