Sodom and Gomorrah were two towns that became especially wicked at the time of Abraham. In fact, they were so bad that God made an immediate judgement against them. Burning chemicals poured like rain upon the towns, and killed everyone in them. The only people who escaped were a good man called Lot, his wife and two daughters. However, Lotís wife died as she looked back at Sodom (Genesis 19:1-29).
Centuries later, Isaiah saw that many people in his own country, Israel, had also become very wicked (Isaiah 1:21-23). They had no more right to expect any help from God than Sodom and Gomorrah did. It was only by Godís kindness that their nation and their families continued to exist. God had shown that kindness to Israel because of those people who had remained loyal to God. However, it was also an act of Godís kindness that such people were in their nation. In his kindness, God had made it possible for those people to know him and to trust him.
In Romans 9:29, Paul repeats Isaiah 1:9, but not to warn about Godís judgement. Rather, Paulís purpose is to show the place of Israel in Godís plan. In particular, Paul wants to emphasise Godís plan for those people from Israel who are loyal to God. They may not be many people, but from them God can and will make Israel into a truly great nation. That is, a nation where the people love and obey God with their whole hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-36; Mark 12:28-34; Romans 11:23-27).
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© 2017, Keith Simons.