The Olive Tree!
Scripture reading for July 28th: Romans 11:13-36
Olive trees were common in Israel. They were a source of food and of oil for cooking and light. Olive trees live for hundreds of years and are tough enough to survive in the harsh climate and endure periods of little rainfall. The olive tree had deep roots that went into the rocky soil to anchor it and nourish the branches.
Paul used an analogy of a tame olive tree representing Israel. (Romans 11:16b-24) Gentiles were ‘wild olive shoots’ that God grafted into the ‘Israel olive tree”. Those Jews who hardened themselves from Israel were likened to tame olive branches or shoots that were pruned or broken off by God because of their lack of faith. Paul warned the Gentiles who had been grafted in not to become arrogant and think that somehow they had earned their place and the Jews were inferior. They should live in holy fear of God who could also remove them from this special tree! (Romans 10:20-21)
Paul also encouraged the Gentiles and Jewish Christians in Rome that God was also able to graft the broken natural branches of the Jews back into this tree. In fact, this is God’s plan after the full number of Gentiles are saved! (Romans 11:25-27) God loves the Jews and they will again have opportunity to be grafted in because of God’s faithful promises to the patriarchs! (Romans 11:28-29)
God is so amazing! His ways are above our ways and we our response should be worship! Paul worshiped God for His amazing plan to save Jew and Gentile through the Gospel! “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen!” (Romans 11:33-36)
Have you taken time lately to praise God for His mercy to you? Have you thanked Him for His mercy to Israel and through Israel by sending Jesus Christ as our Savior? Today is a great time to write or speak a personal doxology of praise to our amazing Lord and Savior! There is none like Him!