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What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, “God gave them a sluggish spirit, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and keep their backs forever bent.”
So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their stumbling salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their stumbling means riches for the world, and if their defeat means riches for Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
Before We Jump
I think most people could be classified as conclusion jumpers, because most of us love to take this kind of conclusive leap on the flimsiest reasons. For instance, we hear something that someone heard someone else say about someone we used to know, and we start jumping. I mean, we assume that the person talking actually knows the situation; therefore, what’s being said is the gospel truth. And because of that, we assume that all the information is correct, even though it’s all based on what someone said that they thought they heard someone else say. But we haven’t stopped jumping yet, because now, based on two sets of assumptions that certainly are questionable at best, we react to what we assume that we know. And in other words, we respond, we defend, we attack, or we distance ourselves from a person or situation based solely on a string of assumptions. You see, we’ve jumped and landed right in the middle of a big, fat conclusion. And suddenly, whether or not the conclusion is justified is irrelevant. We’ve made it real by our leap, not of faith, but of assumptions.
And I’ll tell you, it’s bad enough when we do this kind of thing in our relationships with others; it’s a disaster when we do it with respect to God. You see, even though we may not like to admit it, we just don’t know the will of God, and we don’t know how he regards the people around us. But when we assume that we know and that he includes folks we like and excludes folks we don’t because of a set of assumptions that are questionable, we’ve used this conclusion to distort our relationship with our brothers and sisters and our God. And for that reason, when it comes to conclusions, we might want to pause, think and pray before we jump.