Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 11

God deals with Israel as a family

Romans 11:4

To have friendly relations with any nation, we must deal with its important people, and especially its rulers. They have the power to oppose us, and to prevent any connection between us and that country.

It is, however, different when we are dealing with a family. Our friendly relations with that family continue while we have any friends whatever in that family. Other family members can benefit simply from our kindness to that family.

So, in 2 Samuel chapter 9, David showed great kindness to Mephibosheth simply because his father Jonathan had been Davidís friend. In 2 Samuel 19:31-38, David showed kindness to Kimham because of his (Davidís) friendship with Barzillai. However, David failed when he tried to be friendly with Hanun because of his friendship with Hanunís father, Nahash. Hanun was the king of Ammon. He dealt with David not as a family friend but as the ruler of a nation that he hated (2 Samuel 10:1-4).

We often describe Israel as a nation, but the Bible often describes it as a group of families (for example, Revelation 7:4-8). Elijah protested against Israel because, at that time, its rulers and powerful people were opposing Godís servants fiercely (11:2-3). However, God chose to deal with Israel in its families. He told Elijah about the men in Israel who were loyal to him. Each of those men would teach his own family to serve the true God.

God established his relationship with Israel as a family; he made promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The whole of Israel came from Jacobís family. In fact, even the name Israel is the name that God gave to Jacob (Genesis 32:28).

Next part: Israel's remnant (Romans 11:5)


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© 2018, Keith Simons.