In Romans 9, 10, and 11, Paul discusses God’s plan for the Israelites–his own people. Paul’s directive is to tell the Good News to the Gentiles–all the non-Jews in the world. But as he has said, his heart is broken for those Israelites who have rejected God, and he would give up his eternity with God if they would all come back to the fold. When I remembered that, this chapter in Paul’s letter to the Romans didn’t seem defensive, but rather more of a warning that I should not take God’s promises for granted.
I used three separate information charts for this chapter, each with its own heading.
|Israel/Jews: Has God rejected His own people?|
|The national rejected God, but a remnant have always remained believers (1-4).|
|It is same today: a Jewish remnant are convinced of God’s grace and purpose in choosing them (5-6).|
|Israel become so self-focused, God closed their eyes and ears to His truth (7-10).|
|Is Israel down for the count? No( (11). Paul tells his fellow Jews all about the Gentiles entering God’s Kingdom, hoping they will be moved to return (13-14).|
|When Israel is reconciled to God, it will unleash resurrection power throughout the whole world (15-16).|
|As the patriarchs were se apart for God, their descendants will be also (16, 28-29). God is more than ready to graft the natural branches back in when they embrace belief (24).|
|What about the Gentiles?|
|Israel’s stumble opened the door of salvation for the rest of the world (11-12).|
|Paul gives warning to Gentiles to stay focused on God’s grace, so as not to experience Israel’s fall themselves (13-14).|
|You are wild olive branches grafted onto a cultivated olive tree. But remember, you aren’t feeding the root, the root is feeding you (16-18)|
|God prunes deadwood that is no longer connected by belief, [God is just]. You are only attached by your faith [God is kind]. (19-22)|
|What do we learn about God?|
|God’s mixture of kindness and severity is a mystery, don’t presume you will be treated differently from any other (22-24, 33).|
|God’s overall purpose is for all believers, and His promised are never canceled, never rescinded (28-29).|
|God is extravagantly generous and deeply wise (34).|
|God is the source and sustainer of everything, and everything finds fulfillment in Him. Praise God! (36)|
I heard this message from God quite clearly.
It’s easy to turn my focus on myself. After all, I’m one of God’s chosen people so doesn’t that put me on a higher strata than others? I can look down my nose, judge others, and pat myself on the back for knowing what’s right… I don’t want to fall into the clever trap! Lord, I want to walk in the garden with you every day. I want to remember that everything I am, everything I have, comes from you. Help me to stay connected to the tree, be nurtured by Your roots, so that I can bear Your fruit. Praise your Holy Name!
As a branch grafted into God’s tree, I depend on Him for my nourishment and growth. Therefore I must make sure that I pay attention to staying connected to the tree–staying in close relationship with God. That is the only way that I will be able to bear the fruits of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
Olive tree picture by Nazar Hrabovyi on Unsplash