I ask, then, has God rejected his people, the Jews? Of course not! Remember that I myself am a Jew, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin.
No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you remember what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said,
"Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I alone am left, and now they are trying to kill me, too."
References for Romans 11:3
And do you remember God's reply? He said, "You are not the only one left. I have seven thousand others who have never bowed down to Baal!"
References for Romans 11:4
It is the same today, for not all the Jews have turned away from God. A few are being saved as a result of God's kindness in choosing them.
References for Romans 11:5
And if they are saved by God's kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God's wonderful kindness would not be what it really is -- free and undeserved.
So this is the situation: Most of the Jews have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have -- the ones God has chosen -- but the rest were made unresponsive.
As the Scriptures say, "God has put them into a deep sleep. To this very day he has shut their eyes so they do not see, and closed their ears so they do not hear."
References for Romans 11:8
David spoke of this same thing when he said, "Let their bountiful table become a snare, a trap that makes them think all is well. Let their blessings cause them to stumble.
Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and let their backs grow weaker and weaker."
References for Romans 11:10