Summary: People sometimes are amused by illusions, but in the spiritual realm, illusions are deadly: when blessings from God are MIS-used and abused, they Blessing can become curses.
Blessings that Can Become Curses
What a loving, patient and Gracious God we serve! He STILL stands today with out-stretched hands to an unsaved world, and He relies on us, as His Holy ONES, His SAINTS, set apart to bring the story of His Grace in Christ to others. Have you been able to stretch out YOUR hands of grace in the name of the Lord Jesus during this past week?
Remember the setting of our Romans 11:7-10 is still that verse from Romans 10:21: “But as for Israel He says, "ALL THE DAY LONG I HAVE STRETCHED OUT MY HANDS TO A DISOBEDIENT AND OBSTINATE PEOPLE." We’re going to look at a few very good and worthwhile things, in essence, BLESSINGS, which sometimes can become curses.
Then Paul says in Romans 11:7: “What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained,(that is, THEY were seeking a righteousness by works…and no one will EVER obtain righteousness by works!) but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; (A remnant received it by faith, but the rest were covered with a thick skin, like having a callous over your heart, that can hardly be penetrated.) 8 just as it is written, "GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY."
Here Paul is quoting yet another Old Testament verse from Isaiah 29:10: “The LORD has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets); he has covered your heads (the seers).” It wasn’t GOD’S PROPHETS but FALSE prophets, false teachers and seers who filled the people’s ears and heads with false teachings, and Israel followed THEM and gave their allegiance to THEM instead of to God. (The heads of believers in Christ are covered with the Salvation of God in faith, according to Ephesians 6 and The ARMOUR of God.) As a result, God has blinded all but a remnant of Israel’s eyes on account of their willful disobedience and rejection of Him, and it was in God’s predetermined plan to do so, as our text says, “down to this very day”.
“God gave them” (didomai GR.) means “to grant, to give to one asking, to give over”. God gave them over to their own desires and their own teachings, and NOT doing anything to change them, they remain spiritually dead, deaf, blind and dumb.
Life and Worship
Several verses later, listen to Isaiah 29:13, where God said: “The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up ONLY of rules taught by men.” Worship is intended by God, not only to be a blessing to us, but primarily a blessing to HIM, to reflect to HIM ALL THE GLORY and HONOR that HE deserves; it’s not a human invention! Anything less than reflecting glory that is due to God and God alone in idolatry. Unacceptable Worship is that which adores us in any way, instead of a Sovereign Saving God. The question in our LIVES as well as in our worship should be: Is this pleasing to YOU, Lord or to men?
Jesus quoted a very similar text to Isaiah 29:10 &13 in John 12:38: When people would not believe in Jesus, EVEN AFTER SEEING HIS miraculous signs, their actions were fulfilling what Isaiah had written: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" 39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 40 "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn--and I would heal them." 41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about HIM.” A few verses later, Jesus says in verse 43: “for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.” (Jesus quoted from Isa. 53:1, 6:10)
Israel worshiped the things of man rather than God: Isaiah 29:16: “You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "He did not make me"? Can the pot say of the potter, "He knows nothing"? God basically said, “YOUR LIVES and YOUR worship (for a follower of Christ, there really is NO difference between the two; wouldn’t you agree?) Your lives and worship have attempted to dethrone Me.
God is to be the ULTIMATE and ONLY object of your worship and of your life. (John 4:24) “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” Two acts OF God (IN SPIRIT and TRUTH) will result in life and worship TO God: You have to receive the Holy Spirit, HIS SPIRIT, and you have to receive (and believe) the truth of the Gospel, which IS justification by Christ’s Work of Grace. Then your life and worship will be acceptable…and it will not be about YOU…because it ALL points TO God. Our worship on Wednesday night, Thurs. noon and Sunday morning should be congruent with our lives. It should be like one straight line running heavenward that continually gives thanks God for ALL HIS Grace received EVERY MINUTE, not like a dotted line with large disconnects, but more like a solid line with few spaces.