A Horticultural Example
Pray for greater insight into the great truths of God’s Word that you’ll read of today.
Read ROMANS 11:11-24
 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.  But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!  I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry  in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.  For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?  If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.  If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,  do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.  You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.”  Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.  Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.  And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat agricultural imagery does Paul use here?
Paul’s urgent question is serious: are these Israelites lost forever if they failed to respond to their Messiah Jesus? His answer is clearly “no”! The fact that Israel rejected and crucified the Messiah opened a door for the Gentiles to enter into a relationship with God. But for Israel, Paul holds out the hope that they will respond once again to God’s grace by turning to their Messiah. Paul refers to the “firstfruits” (16), which may mean the great patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob), or the first Jewish believers in the Messiah. These “firstfruits” are enough to raise hope for all Israel.
Paul continues with a serious warning to the Gentile Christians in Rome: you are not the trunk of the olive tree; you are merely wild branches grafted in. On the other hand, Israelites who change their minds and believe are like true branches that can be grafted back into the olive tree again (17-24). It is certainly possible for unbelieving Israel to accept God’s gracious offer of the Messiah and get back in line with God. In reality, severed branches can never be grafted back into a tree! However, we know what is naturally impossible is perfectly possible with God!
Does this make you want to pray for Israel/Jewish people, and share faith with them? Pray for opportunities to do it.
Lord, thank You for Your love for Your people, Israel. I pray for the day when they recognize Jesus as their Messiah.
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