“And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree. You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree, he will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong.
Romans 11:23-24 NLT

Paul returns to his analogy of Jesus being the olive tree, and branches representing His people, Jew or Gentile. And he makes a comparison between the “wild olive” branches, representing the Gentiles who had accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and the original branches, representing the Jews, God’s chosen people. Both types of branch, however, drew their sustenance from God’s “cultivated tree”. Paul makes a statement that implies that being grafted into His tree was contrary to nature, but that God was willing to do it. Was God being grudging and reluctant in allowing this to happen, as perhaps we could interpret from Paul’s wording? The use of the phrase “far more eager” implies that God is more inclined to His people, the Jews, than anyone else. But is this the case?

Of course not, we exclaim! God has no favourites we cry! We quote the words of Jesus in John 3:17, “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him”. The word “world” implies everyone, not just the Jews. And we also read 1 Timothy 2:3-4, “This is good and pleases God our Saviour, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth”. So what was Paul meaning in these verses from Romans 11?

Paul, I believe, was appealing to his Jewish audience. Perhaps those on the periphery of the early church in Rome, or his fellow Jews who happened to read his epistle. He was reminding them of the special place in God’s heart for His people. Back in Deuteronomy we read about God’s instructions , given through Moses, for the Israelites as they were about to enter the Promised Land. We read in Deuteronomy 7:6, “For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure”. Although God wanted the other nations around Israel eliminated at that time because of their wickedness and idolatry, He had a plan for the whole world.

But we pilgrims know that, even if we are “wild olive branches” grafted into the Olive Tree who is Christ, we are now adopted into God’s family. In Paul’s day, adoption was a special and honoured status, never second best. And so it is with us. We are also God’s treasure, because we responded to His calling and became part of His family. So there will be a day when the original branches, God’s chosen people, will be grafted back into the Olive Tree, and will join us Wild Olives in a cacophony of praise to our wonderful God. We praise our wonderful Heavenly Father today.

Dear Father God. We thank You for Your wonderful plan, executed when Jesus came to this world, to save the world through Him. Amen.


Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior? Don’t you realise God’s justice continues forever? All day long you plot destruction. Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor; you’re an expert at telling lies. You love evil more than good and lies more than truth.
But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. I will praise You forever, O God, for what You have done. I will trust in Your good name in the presence of Your faithful people.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭52:1-3, 8-9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

A Psalm about two people. A great warrior who tells lies and the Psalmist who likens himself to an olive tree. It could be the actor list for a stage play or the character list in a fantasy novel. But then the seriousness of the message unfolds. David, the Psalmist, was recording the wrongs of a man called “Doeg the Edomite”, a man who massacred priests at Saul’s behest. We can read about the event, and his evil, in 1 Samuel 21 and 22. But what can we learn from this Psalm? I think the main message is that there is an eternal reality about God and His righteousness and justice. There have been many men and women, past and present, who are self-serving, mirroring the behaviour of the “great warrior” and thus assuring themselves the fate reserved for evil people. Perhaps David introduced a hint of sarcasm when he referred to Doeg as being a “great warrior”, because anyone with that title would be expected to be brave and courageous, and with a character befitting the word “great”. David referred to Doeg’s tongue as being like a sharp razor; he was apparently no stranger to boasting about his ruthless deeds and he used his mouth as the vehicle for underpinning his evil reputation. But Doeg was a man without a conscience and his one motivation in life was to maximise his own selfish rewards – an original “what’s in it for me” person – and he came to a early end, dying, according to Jewish traditions, at the age of 34. In today’s culture, the spirit of Doeg lives on, and many a person, not just those in a position of power or leadership, shipwreck their lives on a sea of lies and deceit. 

But David turns away from his rant to more personal matters. He likens himself to an olive tree. Why an olive tree? Why not an oak tree? Or one of those cedars of Lebanon? Perhaps he saw an olive tree planted close by while he wrote down his thoughts in God’s house, and was impressed by its fruitfulness. He saw the blessings of God manifested in this vigorous, long lasting tree; it was perhaps getting close to the time of a rich harvest of olives, and he equated it to his own life of trust in his loving Heavenly Father. A life full of “olives” of praise and thankfulness, a life founded on his relationship with God.

The moral of the story is that sooner or later, a life of deceit will face a time of reckoning. Lies will be exposed before the almighty Judge. And those people who commit to a life of righteousness will be amazed at how blind such deceitful people can be. They will laugh about the fate of even the most mighty of “warriors who do not trust God“. The righteous look on and observe godless, self-seeking evil people as they tumble down the slippery slope leading to the ultimate home of the father of lies.