FRIDAY, JUNE 2
SCRIPTURE: Romans 9
After all the great things that Paul taught us in chapter 8, chapter 9 seems to be a sudden stop. That is not to say that chapter 9 isn’t important. It is vastly important. It teaches us about some of the mysteries of the sovereignty of God. But it also seems very different from the spiritual highs of chapter 8.
As chapter 9 opens, we find Paul with an incredibly burdened heart. He speaks of having a great sorrow. The word for sorrow can also be translated heaviness or grief. He then says he has an unceasing anguish. This is a continual pain deep within him.
The logical question would be what is it that has Paul in such devastating, grieving pain. The answer is it is about the Jewish nation. Paul knew that as a nation, Israel had rejected Jesus. That doesn’t mean individual Jewish people hadn’t accepted Jesus. They had by the thousands.
But as a nation, they had turned their back on Jesus. And Paul knows that this rejection would result in an eternity in hell. The great irony for Paul was that the Jewish people had so much in their favor. They were the chosen people of God. They had followed the glory of God out of Egypt. They were in a covenant relationship with God. God had given them the Law. At the time, they alone were the only people who could worship God in an acceptable way. And all the Old Testament patriarchs were either the progenitors to or part of the Jewish race.
They had all of this going for them. And “all of this” pointed only at Jesus. Yet when Jesus arrived, they refused Him. They ignored Him as long as they could. And ultimately they crucified Him.
Paul grieved this about Israel so much that he said he wished himself accursed and cut off from Christ. In other words, Paul would have given up his salvation, his way to eternity in heaven, if Israel would simply turn to Jesus. Said another way, Paul was willing to spend forever in hell if only Israel would turn to Jesus.
That, my friends, is a burden. It is one thing to want to see someone saved. It is another thing to finally find the courage to share the gospel with someone. But I have to tell you it is completely off the charts for someone to be so burdened that they would give up their own salvation to see someone else saved.
I honestly don’t know what to do with this. I grieve the fact that my burden for the lost pales in comparison to Paul’s burden. I grieve the fact that I am not so passionate about sharing the gospel that I would do whatever it takes to see someone else saved. I grieve the fact that I don’t care more about those who don’t know Jesus.
We live in a nation that is retreating from Jesus at a most rapid pace. Our nation, as a whole, has decided to reject the truths of the gospel and live whatever life they choose to live. While I understand they have a civil right to do that, I know that rejecting the gospel is rejecting heaven. And if people don’t go to heaven when they die, they can only go to hell.
Lord, give me a burden for the lost around me. Give me a burden to share the gospel regardless of the cost. Give me a burden to understand the value of one human soul.