"Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!" (Romans 11:11-12)
Part of the plan has always been this hardening in regards to Israel so that the salvation message would be opened to the Gentiles. John said, "He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God" ( John 1:11-13 ). In other words the Jews left the door wide open for the Gentiles to come to Jesus and be part of his chosen people.
The good news is that this is only a temporary thing for Israel. There is currently a believing remnant chosen by grace ( Romans 11:5 ). But as a whole they have not stumbled to the point of spiritual ruin. Paul said later on in this very chapter that "God's gifts and his call are irrevocable" ( Romans 11:29 ). Israel has a long standing relationship with the Lord and he has chosen and called them as his own. Eventually they will turn from their self-sufficiency towards Christ's redeeming love. Once they turn their eyes again towards him, their spiritual blindness will be removed and they will see Jesus clearly.
There is no doubt that the enormous number of Gentiles who turned to Jesus over the centuries has aroused the Israelites to jealousy. They look upon us and see and feel what they forfeited. But even in their jealousy they did not turn to the Messiah. This failure on their part has enriched and blessed the entire world. Because they rejected Jesus, his salvation was offered to all of mankind. Their loss meant riches for those originally outside of His covenants.
Paul spoke about this in Ephesians 2. "Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ" ( Ephesians 2:12-13 ). Israel's rejection of Jesus made it possible for us to be brought into the promise. Our condition before this was hopeless. We were aliens to God's covenants, we were excluded from his promises and we did not know God in any way. But by the blood of Jesus we who were far away were brought near and included in this new family.
Paul went on to say, "he came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household" ( Ephesians 2:17-19 ). Through Jesus we have been brought into the promises and have been joined together with Israel and reconciled to God. Jesus came and brought both the Jews and the Gentiles everlasting peace with God. Through faith we now have access to the Father by the Holy Spirit. Inclusion in the promise is the rich blessing that came to us because Israel rejected Jesus. If this is the case imagine what blessings will occur when they finally receive him as their Messiah.
Today, I am so thankful to be included in the promises spoken to the Israelites. I am thankful that Jesus provided the peace and hope that I live by through the blood of Jesus. Today, may you join me in a thankful heart for what Jesus has done for you, amen.