I apologize to any of you early birds who like reading my reflections when you wake up. I am fighting a cough and so chose to sleep in. (Anyone who knows me knows that I’m no early bird myself, so it’s actually been pretty amazing that God has enabled me to write so many of these devotions so early!)
On to today’s passage!
So yesterday, Paul asks, “Could it be that the Israelites didn’t hear the salvation message?” Answer: No! They’ve heard enough by general revelation not to be able to use that excuse.
Today he asks, “Could it be that they heard the message, but simply didn’t understand it? No, again! This time Paul debunks the excuse based on the evidence of their own jealousy of others who received the truth.
It might be useful to discuss what jealously is. It’s almost a synonym to envy, but not quite. I’ve been taught that the difference is that envy is craving something rightfully belonging to someone else, whereas jealousy is wanting something back that rightfully belongs to you. So envy is always wrong, but jealousy can be righteous. God says, “I am a jealous God”, for example.
In essence Paul is playing the psychoanaylist, asking, “What can we deduce by the presence of their jealousy?” I think the answer is that they saw that their rightful, privileged status of beign God’s “chosen people” was being given away to others. And this made them angry. The Lord was provoking them to be agitated about this–and their agitation itself was proof that they couldn’t use ignorance about it as an excuse.
I’m reading between the lines a lot I know, but what do you think? Am I off base here?