Wild Olive Branches

Two thoughts keep floating to the surface from our recent trip to Israel. The first relates to God obvious blessing on His people and their land. There can be no doubt that, despite the Jews resounding rejection of their Messiah, God’s covenant blessing remains with them.

God is the covenant-keeper! His hand is still on His people. Paul addresses this in Romans 11:1a “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not!. . .” He goes on to explain in verses 2 & 4: “God has not rejected his people who he foreknew. . .” “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal. So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.”

Sometimes gentile Christians (especially those of us blessed to live in America) begin to believe they are the only chosen race. There is an arrogance about our faith at times. . .a presumption. It’s as if we were the only ones God died to save. Did you know that an olive tree can live for hundreds of years but the individual branches don’t have such a long lifespan? One by one, as they yield less and less fruit, they are replaced by young fruitful branches which are grafted onto the age-old trunk with the deep durable roots. They are not the tree; they are a grafted branch that benefits from their connection to the established tree.

That explanation brings our standing into focus and clarifies the next section in Romans 11. Beginning in verse 17: “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand last through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.”

We are the grafted shoot that entered the promise by faith. We are warned not to become arrogant or proud. It’s a good reminder that we are wild olive branches humbled to be full partakers of the covenant God initially instituted with His special people.

“A partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (from Romans 11:25) Say a prayer of thanksgiving to your Savior if you are a Gentile who has received the wonderful inheritance by grace!

May the Master enable us to be fruitful branches,