The First 15

Friday July 30, 2021

by Amanda Hardeman

Opening Prayer

“Lord, help me to pause, help me to focus, help me to receive your word in a way that makes an impact on my day. Amen”

Scripture Reading

Romans 11:1-10

The Remnant of Israel
I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written:

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,

eyes that could not see

and ears that could not hear,

to this very day.”

And David says:

“May their table become a snare and a trap,

a stumbling block and a retribution for them.

May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,

and their backs be bent forever.”


I have read this scripture over and over while preparing for this reflection and the theme that keeps standing out to me is rejection. Nobody wants to feel rejected, especially from their Creator. Over the past several days we have had the chance to experience Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome speaking to them about rejection and this new concept of grace. Much like those Paul was writing this letter to, we too want to paint a picture with broad strokes. We lead with generalities and sometimes rejection when we should lead with grace.

In this chapter Paul (who himself was a jew) points out that not all Jews have been rejected by God’s message. Because of Christ, we too are a “remnant chosen by grace”. I love verse 6 “And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” We have become immune to grace and the true meaning behind the concept of grace. A long time ago, grace was explained to me as being “God’s unconditional love for us”. Love without conditions. Grace is love beyond our past, living in our present, and covering our future.

What comes to your mind when you think of rejection?

How have you experienced God’s unconditional love this week?

Closing Prayer

Lord, these are your words. This is our story. Help me live in a way that honors you today and everyday. Amen.

The First 15

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