Saturday, 28 September 2013
But Isaiah is very bold and says:
“I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” Romans 10:20
“But” is given to contrast the preceding verse. He was speaking of Israel and God’s need to provoke them to jealousy and to move them to anger. These actions would be effected by those who were “not a nation” and by a “foolish nation.” Unlike Israel, who would reject Him, Paul cites Isaiah 65:1 to show directly from Scripture that in the process of doing this, the gentiles would actually come to find the Lord that the Jews had rejected.
To show the force of this, he says “Isaiah is “very bold” using the Greek word apolotoma; a word used only here in the New Testament. It has the intent of someone who dares another. His statement was one which could arouse his readers to anger, but he stated it anyway and he states it with bold confidence. Now, in his citation of Isaiah, Paul switches the order of the verse. In Isaiah it says –
“I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me.”
The reason for this change must certainly be the nature of the gospel message. It is given to people who aren’t seeking God and they suddenly become aware of who He is; they find Him without having sought Him. When they find Him, He is made manifest to them, even though they didn’t ask for Him. This is sure because the term “I was sought” is replaced with “I was made manifest.” Also, the term “I was found” was written by Isaiah in the present tense – “I am sought.” However, Paul is writing it as a completed action – “I was found.”
Isaiah looked forward to the time when the gospel would be given to and accepted by the gentile people. Now Paul shows that the time had arrived. In both cases, from Isaiah and from Paul, this would have been an offensive message to the Jews. But despite this, they both boldly proclaimed the gospel.
Life application: The message of Jesus is offensive. John 14:6 is a statement which shows the harsh reality of rejecting Him. No person can be reconciled to God apart from Him. John 3:18, likewise is offensive – all people are “condemned already.” Are you willing to be as bold as Isaiah and proclaim a message which is so unpopular? If so, God will be pleased with your stand. His word takes precedence over the hurt feelings of others.
Lord God, if I knew there were a thousand grains of gold on my walk to the mailbox, I’d surely seek out each one, knowing how precious they are. But even more precious than all the gold in the world is the human soul. Have I shown the same concern for them as I have for specks of golden metal? I think not. Forgive me for the appalling way I have prioritized what is most valuable. Give me a true heart for others Lord. Amen.