Robert E. Hanna
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 65:2-3
To the spiritually minded, it seems inconceivable that there would be any question of choice between peace and frustration; but this seems to be a timeless characteristic of humankind. God offers freedom, and man rejects in favor of bondage. Israel, God's chosen people, were the recipients of countless entreaties to become obedient to His requirements and partake in the blessings of promise. God was prompted to give vent to His displeasure. "I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; a people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face."
Seven hundred years later, following Israel's rejection of their promised Messiah, Stephen delivered a scorching indictment as he spoke before the Jewish council. ''Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; ofwhomye have been now the betrayers and murderers: who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it" (Acts 7:51-53).
More of His infinite patience was graciously displayed by God before He set aside the obstinate nation Israel, but the time finally came: "Seeing ye put [the Word of God] from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, 10, we turn to the Gentiles" (Acts 13:46) ... Enter, the Dispensation of Grace!
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