That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness,have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.
Romans 9:30 NIV
Sometimes it is easier to do things that are totally new to you, rather than making a change to things you have been doing all along. You know the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” For hundreds of years Israel was governed by The Law but now things are different and they are struggling to make a change – Struggling to live in this new freedom.
Do you have areas of your spiritual life where you are resistant to change? Do you only listen to one type of worship music? Do you cringe when you see someone in church who doesn’t fit your picture of what a “church goer” should look like? Do you struggle to “be still” because you want to get things done?
As my children are getting older and making their faith their own, it has helped me to see some areas in my own life that need reexamining. As they are asking questions, I have had to bring some of my actions and beliefs under deeper consideration. Are my actions and beliefs indicative of Truth or do they just refelct the way it has always been done?
Lord, help me to live by faith and to always be looking to You. Help me not to rely on tradition but to rely on Truth.
While looking at this same passage in The Message, it compared the Gentiles and the Israelites in a way that hit too close to home:
All those people who didn’t seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. Isaiah (again!) gives us the metaphor for pulling this together:
Careful! I’ve put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion,
a stone you can’t get around.
But the stone is me! If you’re looking for me,
you’ll find me on the way, not in the way.
Romans 9:30-33 The Message
I don’t want to be so involved in my “God projects” that I miss what God is doing right in front of me. I cringe to think of the time that I spend doing church activities but not really engaging in or acknowledging what God is doing around me. How many opportunities to obey God have I missed because I was absorbed in my own agenda?
Lord, forgive me for not stopping and seeing your hand in my life as often as I should. Forgive me for being so busy that I forget to stop and see all the ways that you have orchestrated things in my life. Help me to always be looking for You. I want my relationship with you to not be an item on a “to do” list, but rather a longing to know you and see your presence in my life. Help me to live by faith.
4Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 25 4-5 NIV