But to Israel he said, All day long I have stretched forth my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)To Israel.—With regard to Israel.
He saith.—Isaiah, speaking as the mouthpiece of God.
All day long.—This quotation is from the next verse to the preceding, and there is no such distinction in the persons to whom it is addressed as the Apostle here draws.
Gainsaying.—A people which refused the proffered salvation.
All day long - Continually, without intermission; implying that their acts of rebellion were not momentary; but that this was the established character of the people.
I have stretched forth my hands - This denotes an attitude of entreaty; a willingness and earnest desire to receive them to favor; to invite and entreat; Proverbs 1:24.
A disobedient - In the Hebrew, rebellious, contumacious. The Greek answers substantially to that; disbelieving, not confiding or obeying.
Gain-saying - Speaking against; resisting, opposing. This is not in the Hebrew, but the substance of it was implied. The prophet Isaiah proceeds to specify in what this rebellion consisted, and to show that this was their character; Isaiah 65:2-7. The argument of the apostle is this; namely, the ancient character of the people was that of wickedness; God is represented as stretching out his hands in vain; they rejected him, and he was sought and found by others. It was implied, therefore, that the rebellious Jews would be rejected; and, of course, the apostle was advancing and defending no doctrine which was not found in the writings of the Jews themselves. And thus, by a different course of reasoning, he came to the same conclusion which he had arrived at in the first four chapters of the Epistle, that the Gentiles and Jews were on the same level in regard to justification before God.
In the closing part of this chapter, the great doctrine is brought forth and defended that the way of salvation is open for all the world. This, in the time of Paul, was regarded as a novel doctrine. Hence, he is at so much pains to illustrate and defend it. And hence, with so much zeal and self-denial, the apostles of the Lord Jesus went and proclaimed it to the nations. This doctrine is not the less important now. And from this discussion we may learn the following truths:
(1) The pagan world is in danger without the gospel. They are sinful, polluted, wretched. The testimony of all who visit pagan nations accords most strikingly with that of the apostles in their times. Nor is there any evidence that the great mass of pagan population has changed for the better.
(2) the provisions of the gospel are ample for them - for all. Its power has been tried on many nations; and its mild and happy influence is seen in meliorated laws, customs, habits; in purer institutions; in intelligence and order; and in the various blessings conferred by a pure religion. The same gospel is suited to produce on the wildest and most wretched population, the same comforts which are now experienced in the happiest part of our own land,
(3) the command of Jesus Christ remains still the same, to preach the gospel to every creature. That command has never been repealed or changed. The apostles met the injunction, and performed what they could. It remains for the church to act as they did, to feel as they did, and put forth their efforts as they did, in obeying one of the most plain and positive laws of Jesus Christ.
(4) if the gospel is to be proclaimed everywhere, people must be sent forth into the vast field. Every nation must have an opportunity to say, "How beautiful are the feet of him that preaches the gospel of peace." Young men, strong and vigorous in the Christian course, must give themselves to this work, and devote their lives in an enterprise which the apostles regarded as honorable to them; and which infinite Wisdom did not regard as unworthy the toils, and tears, and self-denials of the Son of God.
(5) the church, in training young men for the ministry, in fitting her sons for these toils, is performing a noble and glorious work; a work which contemplates the triumph of the gospel among all nations. Happy will it be when the church shall feel the full pressure of this great truth, that the gospel may be preached to every son and daughter of Adam; and when every man who enters the ministry shall count it, not self-denial, but a glorious privilege to be permitted to tell dying pagan people that a Saviour bled for all sinners. And happy that day when it can be said with literal truth that their sound has gone out into all the earth; and that as far as the sun in his daily course sheds his beams, so far the Sun of righteousness sheds also his pure and lovely rays into the abodes of human beings. And we may learn, also, from this,
(6) That God will withdraw his favors from those nations that are disobedient and rebellions. Thus, he rejected the ancient Jews; and thus also he will forsake all who abuse his mercies; who become proud, luxurious, effeminate and wicked. In this respect it becomes the people of this favored land to remember the God of their fathers; and not to forget, too, that national sin provokes God to withdraw, and that a nation that forgets God must be punished.
Israel he saith, All day—"All the day"
long I have stretched out my hands—"did I stretch forth"
my hands—the attitude of gracious entreaty.
unto a disobedient and gainsaying people—These words, which immediately follow the announcement just quoted of the calling of the Gentiles, were enough to forewarn the Jews both of God's purpose to eject them from their privileges, in favor of the Gentiles, and of the cause of it on their own part.
Note, (1) Mere sincerity, and even earnestness in religion—though it may be some ground of hope for a merciful recovery from error—is no excuse, and will not compensate, for the deliberate rejection of saving truth, when in the providence of God presented for acceptance (Ro 10:1-3; and see on Ro 9:7, Note 7). (2) The true cause of such rejection of saving truth, by the otherwise sincere, is the prepossession of the mind by some false notions of its own. So long as the Jews "sought to set up their own righteousness," it was in the nature of things impossible that they should "submit themselves to the righteousness of God"; the one of these two methods of acceptance being in the teeth of the other (Ro 10:3). (3) The essential terms of salvation have in every age been the same: "Whosoever will" is invited to "take of the water of life freely," Re 22:17 (Ro 10:13). (4) How will the remembrance of the simplicity, reasonableness, and absolute freeness of God's plan of salvation overwhelm those that perish from under the sound of it (Ro 10:4-13). (5) How piercingly and perpetually should that question—"How shall they hear without a preacher?"—sound in the ears of all churches, as but the apostolic echo of their Lord's parting injunction, "Preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mr 16:15), and how far below the proper standard of love, zeal, and self-sacrifice must the churches as yet be, when with so plenteous a harvest the laborers are yet so few (Mt 9:37, 38), and that cry from the lips of pardoned, gifted, consecrated men—"Here am I, send me" (Isa 6:8), is not heard everywhere (Ro 10:14, 15)! (6) The blessing of a covenant relation to God is the irrevocable privilege of no people and no Church; it can be preserved only by fidelity, on our part, to the covenant itself (Ro 10:19). (7) God is often found by those who apparently are the farthest from Him, while He remains undiscovered by those who think themselves the nearest (Ro 10:20, 21). (8) God's dealings even with reprobate sinners are full of tenderness and compassion; all the day long extending the arms of His mercy even to the disobedient and gainsaying. This will be felt and acknowledged at last by all who perish, to the glory of God's forbearance and to their own confusion (Ro 10:21).But to Israel he saith; viz. in Isaiah 65:2. In the former verse there is a consolatory prophecy, foretelling the vocation of ignorant and profane Gentiles; and in this, there is a menacing prophecy, threatening the rejecting of the rebellious and stubborn Jews.
All day long; from the time of their first calling to their dissipation.
I have stretched forth my hands; as a father holds forth his arms to receive a rebellious son. Compare this with Matthew 23:37.
Unto a disobedient and gainsaying people; the prophet Isaiah hath but one word, rebellious, and the apostle renders it by these two words, disobedient and gainsaying: they were disobedient in heart, and gainsaying with their tongues, contrary to those two gracious qualifications, mentioned Romans 10:9,10, belief in the heart, and the confession of the month. Compare this with Acts 7:51,52 Ac 13:45 19:9. Isaiah 65:2.
All day long I have stretched forth my hands, unto a disobedient and gainsaying people: very rightly does the apostle apply these words to Israel, as he does the former to the Gentiles; and just in like manner does the above mentioned Jewish writer, R. Moses the priest, interpret them. The Lord's "stretching out his hands all the day long" to them, designs the ministry of the prophets one after another to them, the preaching of John the Baptist, of Christ and his apostles among them: but they were a stiffnecked and rebellious people, uncircumcised in heart and ears; would have none of his counsel, and despised his reproof; contradicted and blasphemed the word; rejected the Messiah and his Gospel; killed the Prince of life, and persecuted his apostles; so that it was just with God to write a "Lo-ammi", Hos_1:9, upon them, and cast them off; and, to pave the way for the account of the rejection of these people in the next chapter, is all this said, and these testimonies produced.But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Romans 10:21. πρὸς δὲ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ λέγει: That is what he says of the Gentiles, but as for Israel, he says, etc., Isaiah 65:2. For πρὸς = with reference to, see Hebrews 1:7 f., Luke 12:41. The arms outstretched all the day long are the symbol of that incessant pleading love which Israel through all its history has consistently despised. It is not want of knowledge, then, nor want of intelligence, but wilful and stubborn disobedience, that explains the exclusion of Israel (meanwhile) from the Kingdom of Christ and all its blessings. This is not inconsistent with Romans 10:3, if we go to the root of the matter. For the ignorance there spoken of is one which has its root in the will, in the pride of a heart which is determined to have a righteousness of its own without coming under any obligation to God for it, and which therefore cannot assume the attitude to which the Gospel becomes credibly Divine; while the ignorance suggested as a plea for unbelief is that of men to whom the Gospel has never been presented at all. The latter ignorance might annul responsibility; the former gives its full significance to guilt.21. to Israel] Better, with respect to Israel.
All day long, &c.] Isaiah 65:2; verbatim with LXX., but with slight variation of order of words.—The phrase is parallel to “rising up early and sending,” (Jeremiah 7:13; Jeremiah 7:25, &c.,) and wonderfully describes the Divine perseverance.
stretched forth my hands] In entreaty and welcome. Cp. Proverbs 1:24.
disobedient and gainsaying] An expansion of the one word “rebellious” in the Heb.—It is important to notice, side by side with strong assertions of Divine Election, these equally strong assertions of human resistance and Divine kindness.Romans 10:21. Ὅλην, whole) Isa. ibid. Romans 10:2, LXX., ἐξεπέτασα τὰς χεῖράς μου ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν πρὸς κ.τ.λ., comp. the whole day, [all the day long] ch. Romans 8:36, see the remarkable dissertation of J. C. Pfaffius, on the continued grace of God.—ἐξεπέτασα, I extended) A metonymy [en.] of the antecedent [for the consequent]. They permit Me to extend My hands, nor do they come. Even by this one word alone the doctrine of the double will of God, viz., a mere good-will [which is towards all men], and a will of sealing [certain persons as His elect; beneplaciti et signi; εὑδοκία, Luke 2:14, good will; but σφραγὶς, sealing as the Lord’s own, 2 Timothy 2:19, or else the “voluntas beneplaciti” is God’s effectual good will towards the elect, Ephesians 1:5, εὐδοκία τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ; the “voluntas signi,” His mere figurative and ostensible good will, whereby it is said in accommodation to human modes of thought “God willeth all men to be saved.” Comp. Calvin Instit. B. iii. c. 20 and c. 24, sect. 17], is shown to be absurd.—ἀπειθοῦντα, not believing) with the ‘heart.’—ἀντιλέγοντα, gainsaying) with the ‘mouth;’ comp. Romans 10:8, etc.Verse 21. - But to Israel he saith, All day long I stretched out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. (Isaiah 65:2). Tholuck remarks, "If from this passage we once more look back upon the tenth and ninth chapters, it is manifest how little Paul ever designed to revert to a decretun, absolutum, but meant to cast all blame upon the want of will in men, resisting the gracious will of God.
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