“But Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.” Romans 9:31-32
Earlier in this chapter, Paul listed the blessings that Israel had received, “theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ” (verses 4-5). Yet it all counted for nothing in terms of salvation because they pursued righteousness by works and not by faith.
The Message Bible translates the above verses like this, “How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their ‘God projects’ that they didn’t notice God right in front of them.”
How easy it is to become absorbed in what we are doing and forget about God. Even when the very thing we are absorbed in, is a “God project.” Living by faith is challenging and confronting. God is indeed right there in front of us loving us, encouraging us, convicting us and yet sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming. There are days when we want to ignore God and live comfortable lives without having to wrestle with issues of faith.
Nevertheless, anything that keeps us from focusing on God and trusting him will ultimately take us away from God. Often it’s not the bad things in life that keep us from God’s best, but the good things.