Who is God’s Remnant?
I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin.
2 No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said, 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
4 And do you remember God’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!”
5 It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing them. 6 And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.
7 So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened. 8 As the Scriptures say,
“God has put them into a deep sleep. To this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see, and closed their ears so they do not hear.”
9 Likewise, David said,
“Let their bountiful table become a snare, a trap that makes them think all is well.
Let their blessings cause them to stumble, and let them get what they deserve.
10 Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and let their backs be bent forever.”
Did God reject His own people?
No. Paul tells us that God did not reject His own people. Paul himself is an Israelite as were Jesus’ disciples. There is this consistent message throughout the Old Testament about God’s people. The message is that there is a remnant that have God in their hearts. What is this remnant? Paul references it in the sripture above. Let’s look at it a little more closely.
Merriam-Webster defines “remnant” as: a) a usually small part, member, or trace remaining; b) a small surviving group —often used in plural.
It can be a left-over amount from a larger group. We can say that Abraham was a remnant. God chose one man of the total population in that day to become His people.
God is still choosing the lesser to be His greater glory.
I like to sew and quilt. When you cut your pattern from fabric, the leftover scraps are called remnants. A lot of time these scraps are tossed in the trash – thought to be worthless. But if you save those pieces, you can make a beautiful quilt out of just remnants. They are not only useful but they are often beautiful pieces of workmanship. God’s Word tells us that we are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). God loves the remnants.
How we look at the remnant will determine the outcome for that scrap.
Thankfully, God has eyes for the remnant. If it were up to Elijah, all the Israelites would have been wiped out. He was at wits end with the people of Israel. Jezebel was killing all the Lord’s prophets. She wanted him killed as well. The Israelites were worshipping Baal and had turned their backs on God. Elijah appealed to God against the Israelites! But God saw the remnant. He saw the 7,000 who had not bowed down to Baal. These few people still had their hearts turned to the Lord so He spared them (see 1 Kings 19).
God delights in each of us! We are His remnant in that the gift of salvation is offered to all but only a few accept it. This is the same whether we are Jews or Gentiles. We’ve seen it throughout the entire history of God and His people. So how do we fall in the remnant? Are we better than others making God pick us? Do we work harder to please God? No, His Word clearly tells us it is simply because of His grace – His undeserved kindness in choosing us. We cannot work for it. We cannot earn it. It is God’s grace – free and undeserved (vs. 5-6).
Are you looking for God’s favor?
Paul shows us that most of the people of Israel have not found God’s favor that they’ve been looking for so earnestly. We need to ask ourselves this question. Are we looking for God’s favor trying to earn it through our obedience (our works)? Or do we have God’s favor because of our faith in Jesus? Works vs. faith. When our heart is turned fully toward Jesus, He will turn His favor fully toward us. He doesn’t turn His favor toward us because of our works. That’s not His way. His way is through the finished works of Jesus alone. Period. End of story. Faith in Jesus.
Why does God choose some of us and not others? Maybe unbelief. This question is hard and I’m not sure that any of us can fully understand how or why God chooses some and not others. But by faith in God’s Word, we accept it as truth (even if we cannot explain it or understand it). God gives us our faith.
By faith, we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
By faith, we pray knowing that God hears our prayers. We pray knowing that our prayers are making a difference. And He is so good to show us His presence in small ways and in large ways. Our Father is so loving and good He wants to reassure us that we are His and that He is ours.
Stay in the Light and the Love Always,