Now It’s Our History, Too

In Romans 9, Paul talks about his kin, the children of Israel:

They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. (Rom 9:4-5 NRSV)

I like this list. In it, Paul reveals what he considers to be the most significant parts of Israel’s history.

This passage comes at the beginning of chapters 9-11. Together, these chapters form a single unit of thought. Later in this same section (Romans 11:17-24), Paul says that Gentile Christians have been grafted into Israel. That has a practical consequence for us as we think of ourselves as Christians.

Israel’s adoption as God’s family and its experience of the God’s shekinah at Sinai, its covenants with God given through Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David, its possession of God’s torah, its worship in the tabernacle and temple, and all the stories of Jesus’ human ancestors in the Bible: now, it’s our history, too.