Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, March 8, 2023
The Blessing Of Inclusiveness – Romans, part 41
Romans 4:7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin Adonai will never count against him.”
We had these two verses on Monday, they are taken from the first two verses of Psalm 32. But before we move on, let’s build on them, the way Paul does in the following verses. First, the blessing is a blessing of joy and gladness. Should we rejoice at being forgiven? Absolutely! Then, Paul addresses another question, “To whom should this apply?”
Romans 4:9a Is this blessing then only on the circumcised, or also on the uncircumcised? Paul then writes convincingly for the inclusion of non-Jews in this blessing of forgiveness. He is not alone. Many of the prophetic writers also say the same. (Some scholars want to make this inclusion exclusively a “Pauline” idea. Perish the thought.)
Isaiah 56:6 Also the foreigners who join themselves to Adonai, to minister to Him, and to love the Name of Adonai, and to be His servants— all who keep from profaning Shabbat, and hold fast to My covenant— 7 these I will bring to My holy mountain, and let them rejoice in My House of Prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar. For My House will be called a House of Prayer for all nations.”
Even Yeshua, Himself, said as much…. John 10:16 I have other sheep that are not from this fold; those also I must lead, and they will listen to My voice. So there shall be one flock, one Shepherd. Who are those “other sheep?” Previously, Isaiah prophesied convincingly…. Isaiah 42:1 Behold My servant, whom I uphold. My Chosen One, in whom My soul delights. I have put My Ruach on Him, He will bring justice to the nations…. 6 “I, Adonai, called You in righteousness, I will take hold of Your hand, I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations.
Rabbi Trail: It is important to understand the difference between Israel and all the other nations. The Bible writers were all Jewish. To them, there are only two kinds of people, people who are Jewish (part of Israel), and people who are not. Those who are not, are from the other nations.
The Hebrew word for “nations” is “Goyim.” Today it carries a negative slang connotation, but historically it is just a word for any nation or group of nations that are not Israel.
Every people group sees itself as the most (or only) civilized society and all others as something “less than.” This is true of Israel too, but God is inclusive and turns that perspective on its head. End RT.
Back to Paul… He even goes on to declare that inclusion of the nations is a mystery…. Ephesians 3:6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are joint heirs and fellow members of the same body and co-sharers of the promise in Messiah Yeshua through the Good News.
Personally, I’m glad that following Yeshua is inclusive. That way we get the best of everything, as we all love God. The Tanach and Brit Chadasha both agree. Shalom, shalom.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Wed 8 Mar-2023 15th of Adar, 5783 Purim Shushan (In Jerusalem)
Ex 33:12-16; 17:8-16 Isa 6-7 Pr 5 Ac 5 (Heb 11)