Unlimited: God Holds Out His Arms
May 4, 2023 363
But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people” (Romans 10:21).
The idea in this powerful image is of God pleading with his people, begging them to return to him and accept his love for them. Paul draws this image from the Old Testament:
I have called and you refused,I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded (Prov. 1:24.)
The ending to the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:22–32 is very poignant. The older son, who we can see as representing the Jewish people, refuses to accept the younger son, representing the Gentiles. At the end of the story, the father is portrayed as begging his older son to accept his brother, and to come into the party and to celebrate with him.
The eternal God is pleading with us.
In Middle Eastern cultures a father should never be reduced to begging. But our hearts are so cold, that this is what our Heavenly Father does, continually calling us to his love. Jesus stretched out his hand in invitation to the world, and it was nailed to a cross. In the words of the Old Testament prophet:
Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me (Lam. 1:12.)
The eternal God is pleading with us. Let us not treat him as nothing.
Are you able to look back on the twists and turns of your life and see how God has been continually holding his hand to you in mercy?