Tone of the Day: ԱԿ
 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.
 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Eli’jah, how he pleads with God against Israel?
 “Lord, they have killed thy prophets, they have demolished thy altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.”
 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Ba’al.”
 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.
 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it sought. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,
 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear,
down to this very day.”
 And David says,
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a pitfall and a retribution for them;
 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and bend their backs for ever.”
 So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.
 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,
 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind;
 when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad.
 So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous,
 and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.
 “Have you understood all this?” They said to him, “Yes.”
 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America