Covenant, the Hebrew word is barit.
It actually means to cut, literally in the Hebrew. We think of a covenant as a kind of a commitment, if you will, between two people. That's not covenant. A covenant is when somebody agrees, usually regardless of what happens, to make a commitment to you.
They're saying, no matter what you do, what happens, I'm with you. That's covenant. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David Magee.
We've all experienced the problem of a broken promise. And while it may be painful, there's a truth we can hold firm to, and that is that God will never break His promises. Stay tuned as David Magee continues in Romans Chapter 11 with God's People.
Here's David. We find ourselves in the midst of some interesting chapters. Romans Chapter 9 is speaking about Israel's past. Romans Chapter 10 is speaking about Israel's present at the time of the writing. Romans Chapter 11 is speaking about, prophetically, Israel. Now, perhaps you're going, okay, well, I'm not Jewish, and I'm not from Israel, so what in the world might these three chapters have to do with me?
Well, friend, you'll be shocked and surprised. Even in this Chapter 11, Paul says, listen, Gentiles. He begins speaking especially in right to non-Jewish people about Israel. And let me assure you that many of us, even having grown up in the church, grew up with certain misconceptions, products of maybe poor teaching or even no teaching, about who Israel is and who we are and who Abraham was and is. So with that, Romans Chapter 11, Verse 1 says, I say then, has God cast away his people?
Certainly not, for I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. Paul asks a question, and then Paul answers it. There are certain things that the Bible speaks very particularly about and to. There's other things that you just need to prayerfully and with wisdom and sometimes common sense need to approach.
I was kind of tickled, you know, a couple years ago, everybody started that, what would Jesus drive or, you know, would Jesus drive an SUV? And it's like, that's really missing the point, isn't it? I mean, but there's certain things the Bible speaks right to, that you're really not entitled if you will, to your own personal opinion, because the Bible is so plain. In this instant, when we're talking about Israel and Israel's future, it's very plain. There's no doubt after reading this verse, Paul says, is God finished with Israel? And he says, absolutely not. So imagine my shock and surprise at a world filled with people call themselves Christians who say they believe the Bible that say God is finished with Israel.
Or do you get that? You certainly don't get it from this book. Maybe you got it from CNN or something, but you can't get that from the Bible. And again, some finer points of theology we can sit and discuss and just agree to disagree.
This is not one of those. The Bible says, is God finished with Israel? The Bible says, no. Friend, you need to understand that a lot of people in Christendom answer that question and say, yeah, he's done with them. He's finished with Israel.
There's a lot of different words for it. You would be shocked at some of the denominations that buy into it and actually teach it. A part of it's called replacement theology. I'll explain a little bit more about what that is, but here's what I need you to grab a hold of, because maybe you're sitting there and go, okay, well, why is it important to me what God's relationship with Israel is? I mean, do I really care that much about Israel?
Yes, you do. And because God's relationship with Israel defines the character and the nature and the personality of God himself. And you cannot change God's relationship with Israel without changing God's personality, his character, his nature. So friend, we need to understand more about this and understand, you know, I grew up in a, in somewhat of religious home, attended church most of my life. There was years I've missed, but we're not telling that story here today, but, but I thought God was finished with Israel.
That's pretty much what I was taught. God's done. As a matter of fact, I had many people explain, well, you know, all those promises that God gave Israel are no longer to Israel. Now they belong to the church. The Bible does not teach that. The Bible does teach this concept of grafted in.
We'll talk about this in this chapter, but it doesn't say God chopped down the olive tree and he's done with it. So that's important for us to understand. And you also need to understand I'm going to say some things today that could be seen as politically incorrect. Okay. And you need to understand from my heart to yours, I don't care.
Okay. I want to be scripturally accurate. I want to be scripturally accurate, not politically correct. And as a pastor, sometimes there's a decision.
I want to be sensitive. I don't want to be a jerk for Jesus is what I call people just run around me and mean to people saying they're a prophet or whatever, you know, I want to be sensitive. And yet when it comes to decision of, well, do I want to, you know, see what the Bible says and adhere to that, or do I want to go with the whims and the twisting, shifting sands of culture. The Bible stands true. So you may have heard this, heard that, been taught this, been taught that, but the first life lesson is crucial in our understanding of Israel. We look to the Bible in spiritual and theological matters to form our opinions and beliefs.
We look to the Bible and spiritual and theological matters to form our opinions and beliefs. I understand if somebody is an Islamic, they're not going to agree with that statement, but those of us who believe in Jesus are followers of Jesus who consider ourselves Christians need to adhere to this need to adhere that we look to the Bible. Nowhere in this chapter does it say, God is finished with Israel. As a matter of fact, it literally says that he's not finished with Israel. You need to understand there's a few forms of what we call literalist, that the easiest and the best definition of being a literalist when you approach the Bible is you take, you look at the meaning and you get the implied meaning, what's main and plain.
You don't read it and go, well gee, if we add every seventh letter, we can come up with something that make my horse walk backwards or something. That's not, you need to look at the Bible and say, well, apparently it looks like this. And so that's what I'm going to believe because at the end of all this, I'd rather be standing before God and say, God, you know, I thought it meant what it said, whether the, you know, rather than, well, you know, when we did this and twisted and then held it up to the light.
No, no, that's not it. That's not, there's allegories in here. There's parables, there's things like that, but when we're dealing in a passage like this, we have to take it at face value.
We're talking about a literal nation, Israel with a literal future in this chapter. We're, and it's not, a relationship with God is not a spiritual lottery ticket. God doesn't say, I don't know, take a chance on me.
We'll see how it goes. That's not what he says. And yet some of us are redefining God's relationship with Israel. So that's the relationship we think we have with God because friend, I've talked to a lot of people about this issue, some well-intended and some people, some well-informed people, but they've came to the wrong conclusion. The conclusion, you know, I can have compassion about how they got to the conclusion is disturbing because when I come across somebody that believes that God is finished with Israel, here's the way the logic goes. Well, God's finished with Israel. Well, okay. The Bible says he's not, but let's just for a moment, argue hypothetically, why do you think God is finished with Israel? Because Israel acted up, engaged in idolatry and God broke the relationship.
Okay. So you serve a God that in a moment when you mess up, breaks the relationship. In other words, at the end of the service, I'll give an invitation for people to come forward, ask him to fill in to forgive their sins for the first time. And I'll tell them, well, as long as you never sin again, you can have a relationship with the Lord.
Anybody in their right mind will not respond to an invitation like that. So when we redefine God's care, his relationship with Israel, we redefine God. And maybe you're sitting there going, well, no, no people don't do this.
Oh, they do all the time. I love prophecy, eschatology, fancy word for end of time events and the sequence of them. It's amazing to me, the prophetic books that I read and what they talk about when it gets to Revelation chapter seven, that's the chapter that contains the reference to the 144,000. And these prophecy books, some of what you're filled with really good information, get to this point and they go, well, we're not sure who the 144,000 are. If you read the chapter, it's 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes.
We're not told that once, we're told that twice. So guess who the 144,000 are? It's the 12 tribes of Israel. Well, how can we know? The Bible tells us. So anybody that comes back and says, well, we don't know who the 144,000 are.
We think, you know, we think it's this, we think it's that. We have to grab, we can't be rewriting the intended meaning of the Bible. We'll return to David's teaching in just a moment. First, I want to tell you about a special booklet that would be the perfect gift for any man on your Christmas list this year. The booklet is entitled, A Father's Blessing. And within its pages, David McGee discusses the power and responsibility a father has in caring for his family.
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The whole book for the whole world. Now let's return to David McGee's verse by verse teaching in the book of Romans. Let's look at verse two. God has not cast away his people whom he foreknew. In case you missed it in verse one, here he says it again. Or do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, Lord, they've killed your prophets and torn down your altars. And I alone am left.
I alone am left and they seek my life. Now, if you're a student of the Bible and you want to get more out of this chapter while we're in it, I'm going to encourage you a couple times a day to read a few chapters of your jotting down notes. One of them, one of the chapters is discussing Elijah right here. One of them will be 1 Kings 19, probably Genesis 12, Genesis 15, probably Galatians 3. I'm going to be, that's 1 Kings 19, Genesis 12, Genesis 15, and Galatians 3, each of those chapters.
And they're just rewarding in and of themselves, but have a lot of bearing on this, on this chapter. And I'll be talking about some of those verses from those chapters. But here is speaking about Elijah. And one thing that, you know, when I was reading this, I kind of got a little tickled as a pastor because, and look how verse 2 closes, how he pleads with God against Israel. Elijah was the spiritual leader in Israel. And yet at this moment, he's praying against Israel, which is kind of strange for a spiritual leader to do, because I don't, I don't pray against you guys. I hope you know that.
God, they're just stiff necked and contrary, and they don't listen. Just go ahead and smite them, smite them, smite them. Even if that's true, I still love you guys. And I'm not going to pray like that, but Elijah, he comes through this and I have incredible respect for Elijah.
Okay. Let's get that out of the way. 1 Kings 18 on Mount Carmel, he stood against these prophets of Baal, stood against all these people. He won. These 450 prophets were then done away with.
They were leading Israel into idolatry and stuff. And so he wins this huge battle. And after this battle, he just, man, he just crashes and burns.
He gets down, he gets depressed, whatever you want to say. And he's like, Oh man, nobody is with the Lord. And he's praying against Israel. Be careful about praying against people. I, you know, I know Christians that they're always praying. God will smite these people and God will smite those people and God will judge these people and God will judge them. My Bible tells me to love people and to love God. And if I see somebody struggling, I want to be praying for them. It breaks my heart when I hear, you know, you guys, some of your children are struggling or maybe your marriages are struggling or relationships are struggling. And I mean, it tears me up and man always tear me up. You know, I'm going to go, well, God, just go ahead and smite them because they, you know, they weren't there last Sunday.
So just take them out. It's interesting, John, the disciple, remember he went out and he didn't get along with people and he came back and you know what he tried to do when he didn't get along with him? Tried to call down, call down fire from heaven to consume them. God graciously didn't answer that prayer. That's interesting because later if you read John, the epistles, first John, second John, third John, it's a lot about loving people.
John went all the way from there to loving people. And God said no when he's called down fire from heaven. Now I thought about that for it and I thought that'd be kind of a cool gift to have, wouldn't it? Called down fire from heaven, but I know I would abuse it. I'd be, you know, I'd probably on a Sunday morning I'd be in here and I'd be like, oh, somebody's nodding off on the back row.
You know, be a crispy critter or, you know, be on the highway, be on the highway. Somebody's slow in front of you, you know, or maybe you're in the express lane at the grocery store, 12 items or less, you plainly have 15. You know, I mean, you and I would both, we would misuse that gift. We would misuse that gift. So Elijah cries out to God and he says, God, I'm the only one left. Nobody else is following you. Was it true?
No, no. Now we're going to be referring and a lot of this promises to Israel or promises to Abraham. Now maybe you're sitting in here and go, well, why do I need to know the promises of Abraham? Because they have everything in the world to do with you.
And if you don't understand them, if you are ignorant of that, the enemy can exploit that. And to me, the fact that so many in the church today understand so little about the word covenant, understand so little about Abraham, that indeed maybe, maybe this is the fruit of the enemy. Genesis chapter 12, God comes to Abram, changes his name later to Abraham.
Genesis chapter 12 verse one says, now the Lord had said to Abram, get out of your country from your family and from your father's house to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great. And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you. And I will curse him who curses you. And in all of the families of the earth, in you, all the families of there shall be blessed.
It's part of the Abrahamic covenant is what we refer to that as. I will make your name great. Now let's understand, when God gave Abram that promise, Abram was, he was a nobody.
No one had heard of him. He was the son of an idol maker from this little, this place called Ur. And yet God says, I'm going to make your name great. God prophetically said that. And you think today friend, the three largest monotheistic religions in the world today, those religions that say there's one God and you can know him, Christianity, Judaism and Islam all point back to Abram as their father. I've got a little issue with Islamic saying that Abraham's their father, but that we'll save that for another day.
But so make his name great. Yes. Bless those that bless you.
Absolutely. And you need to understand something that there is a great deal of anti-Semitism in the world today. That is a hatred, a dislike, a mistrust for Jewish people. This whole dispute over there is not about land. It's the fact that so many countries neighboring Israel refuse to recognize their right to exist. Friend, that's hard to negotiate with if somebody refuses to recognize your right to exist at all. And you also need to understand something historically too, that there was never a nation of Palestine. There was never a language of Palestine.
There was never a people group with a government with a language called Palestine ever historically. Let me help you with something too. Turn with me. Keep your finger in Romans chapter 11.
I'll do this just so often. Keep your finger in Romans chapter 11. Turn back in the back of your Bible and turn where there are maps and look around at your maps. And any of those maps say Palestine during the time of Jesus or Palestine or anything. Take your pen out and mark through it because God refers to that land as Israel, not as Palestine. God gave the Jewish people that land, not the United Nations, not the Balfour Declaration, not the White Papers, none of that stuff.
God is the one that gave them that land. The word Palestine was actually coined to infuriate the Jewish people through Roman leadership. And how strange it is that Christians who believe in the Bible and see God calling it Israel would rename it something else. If God calls it Israel, friend, can I make a suggestion? We should probably call it Israel too.
I know some of you are just stay with me. Some of you are kind of struggling with this but let's go back to the covenant thing. Covenant, the Hebrew word is berit.
It actually means to cut literally in the Hebrew. We think of a covenant as a kind of a commitment if you will between two people. That's not covenant. A covenant is when somebody agrees usually regardless of what happens to make a commitment to you. In other words, a covenant, a marriage ceremony is a covenant ceremony.
When somebody turns and somebody says for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, for sicker, for health, they're saying no matter what you do, what happens, I'm with you. That's covenant. Now there's conditional covenants and there's unconditional covenants. Conditional covenants would contain the word if, if you do this then this will happen. That's a conditional covenant. There's unconditional covenants where God is saying this is the deal.
This is what's going to happen. When we look at the Abrahamic covenant, it's kind of an interesting thing because we think well God made a covenant with Abraham. No he didn't.
Here's what I mean by that. God made a covenant he told Abraham about. When God made this covenant and you can read Genesis 15, they did something, God did something. They cut animals in half and set them in two different places.
Okay. Now the way you would form this covenant of the day is then the covenant parties would walk a figure eight around these two piles of carcasses and the agreement was if ever I break covenant with you, may I be like these separated animals that are cut and sunder. But when you read Genesis 15, a couple of things pop out. First of all, when it came covenant time, Abraham fell into a deep sleep. God made the covenant, not Abram, not Abraham. And you know what's also interesting is you look at that Abrahamic covenant, the word is is not in there. God says this is what I'm going to do.
That's important for us to understand as we understand the concept of covenant. Let's look at verse four. It says, but what does the divine response say to him? I love that term divine response.
Isn't that cool? Well, what's the divine response say to him? I've reserved for myself 7,000 men who have not bowed the knee to Baal. When, when we see Elijah and Elijah go, I'm the only one. Elijah is engaging in a little bit of whining.
Gang, gang, don't whine as a Christian. Jesus said, in this world, you'll have tribulation. What do you think he meant by that? Well, I didn't think he actually meant we'd have some problems and some tribulation and some trouble. No, that is what he meant.
So it shouldn't shock you when problems occur. So Elijah enters in and God, you know, and you say, Elijah says, I'm the only one. And God looks at Elijah and says, Elijah, Elijah, I've got people.
I got people. I got 7,000 people in this Northern kingdom, Southern kingdom, two tribes, Benjamin, Judah, Northern kingdom, the other 10 tribes, at least 10 tribes. God, and that was the more idolatry idolatry region. God says, I got 7,000 people never worship Baal. God always has a remnant.
At times you may feel like you're swimming upstream. And I guess if you never feel like you're swimming upstream, something's wrong, but God always has a people that he's ministering to and ministering through and God defends Israel, even as its spiritual leader at the time is trying to pray against him. So in this, in this, Elijah says, I've got people.
God says, you know, I'm always going to have people. There's always going to be a remnant of Israel. And in this Abrahamic covenant, God promises a couple of things. He recognizes the permanent existence of Israel. He recognizes their permanent ownership of the land of Israel.
They can debate about it all they want to, but God himself is who gave the land to Israel. So when we look at this, we need to understand Abraham because Abraham's in the Bible, 241 times, 166 times. He's in the old, Old Testament, what I refer to as a Hebrew scriptures, New Testament is about 75 times in the New Testament, Abraham. And yet how many Christians walk around and go, well, I don't know why is Abraham important to me?
I'm not Jewish because the Bible seems to indicate that Abraham is important to every one of us. And without an understanding of God's covenant with Abraham, we can't understand God's covenant relationship with us. Because if we don't understand covenant, we don't understand God. Our Bible is divided into two sections. I refer to the first of our, the book is the Hebrew scriptures. If you're ever witnessing to a Jewish person, do not call it the Old Testament call it the Hebrew scriptures, the Hebrew scriptures or the Old Testament or the old covenant, and then the new covenant. And yet many of us walk around for years and not understand what covenant is and why it's important to us and why Abraham is important to us. Galatians 3 14 says that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the spirit through faith in Galatians 3 29. And if you are Christ, then you are Abraham seed and heirs according to the promise. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking him to help you to live for him. Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned.
And I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus name.
Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again.
So congratulations friend, you just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If this was your first time praying that prayer with Pastor David, we would love to hear from you. You can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our first steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Jesus. Also, if you've been blessed by the ministry of Cross the Bridge and David McGee, would you consider supporting us with a financial gift? This month when you give to Cross the Bridge, we will send David's powerful booklet on biblical fatherhood entitled, A Father's Blessing. The number to call is 877-458-5508.
That's 877-458-5508. Or go online to crossthebridge.com. While you're there, make sure to sign up for David's email devotional and begin receiving daily inspiration in your inbox. That website again is crossthebridge.com. Thanks for listening today. We pray you will join us next time as we cross the bridge.
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