Summary: Israel had many excuses for not responding to God's Word; People today are not much different, but the Gospel of Grace and the Hands of God are still extended TODAY.
“Excuses and Mighty Hands”
All of us attempt to justify our actions at one time or another with excuses. I worked in retail management for 20 years and heard some excuses that people have used to call in sick which were NOT ones that bosses appreciated: “My car insurance expired, for the sixth time in six months- I had a Death in the family, the Dog shut off my alarm, I got arrested, I Couldn’t call because I lost my phone, The store is too cold, The store is too hot, PMS (that’s especially a poor excuse for a man to use).”
When people give an excuse, they give a reason or explanation to defend or justify a fault or offense; Usually we give a reason for NOT doing something, or a reason why something went wrong. “Excuse” comes from the Latin meaning “out of cause”: We offer a cause or a reason for not doing something that we should….we give an “excuse.” (Billy Sunday, the baseball star turned evangelist who lived from 1862 – 1935, said that “An excuse is the Skin of a Reason, Stuffed with a Lie.”) This morning we are going to look at a few excuses that Israel used for not believing.
In the first part of chapter 10 of Romans, God tells us what happens to a heart that calls on, believes in, and confesses the name of the Lord Jesus Christ . We concluded with the prophecy which was first fulfilled in Christ and now is fulfilled in us as the Church in Romans 10:15: “Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS (the Gospel) OF GOOD THINGS!" (Quoted from Isa. 52:7)
The Lord Jesus set His feet on this earth from His Heaven and proclaimed the Gospel in His Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension. His Ministry of miracles and healing proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, that no one but God could do those things! He proved that HE WAS THE ONE PROMISED from God, who would DIE FOR OUR SINS. (WE looked at Isaiah 53 during this week in study.)
Excuse #1: A Hearing Problem?
WHO COULD POSSIBLY REJECT THE Power and Clarity of the GOSPEL of God’s Grace in Jesus Christ? Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit continues in Romans 10:16: “However, (UH-oh!) they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?" The truth is that VERY FEW believed the report. Israel killed the prophets who preached God’s Word, and then they killed THE ONE, the LORD JESUS, which the prophets had foretold. But that does not change the way that God works:
Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” 18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they?” Paul is saying: With such clear and powerful prophecy, could it at all be possible that Israel never heard the MESSAGE of the Gospel? Could it be possible that MOST of Israel had a hearing problem? Can Israel honestly stand up and give the excuse: We didn’t hear the message of salvation.
Paul responds with the second half of verse 18: Indeed they have; (NO WAY! NO EXCUSE; THEY HAVE HEARD THE MESSAGE) "THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD."
Here Paul quotes Psalm 19:4: “Their sound has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world.” Psalm 19:1 begins: “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Day and night, CREATION SPEAKS LOUDLY AND CLEARLY of the Glory and the power and the work of the Almighty God.
The excuse does not stand because Creation sings the Father’s song: Roman’s 1:18-23: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” Everyone KNOWS the INVISIBLE attributes of God but many REJECT God.