Friday, 18 October 2013
You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Romans 11:19
Paul just told the audience not to boast against the branches and he gave the reason for it – because they are supported by the same root that the broken off branches were supported by. But in the typical way of not clearly thinking an issue through, they may propose that they are somehow better, or more favored, than the branches which had been broken off. And so Paul preempts such thinking, “You will say then…”
His introduction of this statement shows that he understands and anticipates this type of dialogue. He was trained in rabbinical studies which would have included the study in argumentation for and against a matter. One method would be to introduce a thought prior to the opponent and then to dismantle it. This would leave the thought harder to defend. Politicians are often good at such pre-emptive strikes. This is Paul’s approach here.
The argument: “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” In essence, “I have replaced that which was removed from the support of the root; therefore, they must not be worthy of that support, but I am.” This type of thinking hasn’t looked at the entire scenario. God is working in and through humanity and only He sees the end from the beginning. With the Bible complete, we have the overall plan, but we still don’t see the details. As time unfolds, the details come with it and we can more clearly see what is actually happening.
Paul, however, has been trained by the Lord (Galatians 1:15-17) and knows much of the plan in advance. Therefore, he can rightly argue against faulty views and he can instruct the church more appropriately in matters related to faith.
Life application: We have the general overview of what God intends in redemptive history, but the details are often lacking. As history reveals these details, we may need to reconsider our viewpoint. This is something that is very hard to do for several reasons, but pride of opinion is generally the root of each of them. When history caught up with the plans of the Bible and Israel was restored to her land, the thinking of the church should have changed to accommodate what had occurred, but for many there is an unwillingness to see the truth of the matter. What is coming does include Israel and therefore we need to not fight against God in the process.
O Wonderful Lord! Here comes the sun to start another day for us. There are so many possibilities ahead. Help me to live rightly in the hours to come and to set my eyes, my heart, and my focus on the eternal. Today could be my last… so let me not waste it in vain pursuit, but rather let it be used to Your glory. This I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.