Today’s text: Isaiah 56-58 Romans 11:1-18
In our text from Romans, Paul asks a question in order to make his point. “Did God reject his people?” When we as Christians look back on the history of the Jewish people we see frequent examples of when they appear to have abandoned God’s plan. So what had happened to the promise to Abraham’s descendents? Had God rejected the physical descendents in favor of those who became descendents by faith? If the Abrahamic covenant had failed, what would that mean for the other promises of God? What about the promise to be with us always, even to the end of the age? What about the promise to answer the prayer of faith offered in His name? What about the promise of His returning for us His bride? Paul’s question addresses the very trustworthiness of God. From Paul’s answer, “By no means!” and the explanation that follows we discover much about the nature of God.
God never rejected Israel completely. Even when they gave themselves to idols and to the lusts of their eyes, God kept a remnant safe. A few remained faithful to God and such was always the case. At the time of Paul’s writing and up to the present there has always remained a remnant that has been upheld thru grace. It was not because they obeyed the Jewish laws or because of any work but rather they remained because of grace. Paul goes on to ask, “Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery?” Of course not, in the preceding chapters Paul effectively builds his case that all have fallen. All mankind is under righteous condemnation. Paul of all men could easily understand the full dimensions of God’s grace. Paul uses the imagery of the olive tree to illustrate how we , the Gentiles, are grafted in. As a result of that graft, we too, thru grace can receive the nourishment and blessing from the root. Thru grace we have become partakers of the manifold blessings and promises of God. The gifts and callings of God are irrevocable. Sara Groves said it well when she penned:
Morning by morning I wake up to find
the power and comfort of God’s hand in mine.
Season by season I watch him amazed, in
awe of the mystery of his perfect ways
This is my anthem, this is my song, the
theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long.
God has been faithful, he will be again.
His loving compassion, it knows no end.