God’s Remnant To Remain Through It All – An Olive Tree Lesson
Romans 11:1-6- I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
(vs. 24) 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!
When we read about the olive tree in the bible, we probably think of it as being a big tree or don’t give a thought to it until we read the book of Revelation. Surprisingly, I’ve learned it is a rather small tree. Per Wikipedia : The olive tree, is an evergreen tree or shrub native to the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa. It is short and squat, and rarely exceeds 8–15 m (26–49 ft) in height. The silvery green leaves are oblong, measuring 4–10 cm (1.6–3.9 in) long and 1–3 cm (0.39–1.18 in) wide. The trunk is typically gnarled and twisted. Olive trees are not native to the Americas. Olives like hot weather and sunny positions without any shade while temperatures below −10 °C (14 °F) may injure even a mature tree. They tolerate drought well, thanks to their sturdy and extensive root system. Olive trees can live for several centuries and can remain productive for as long if they are pruned correctly and regularly. (Bingo! News for the year.)
Bible facts that I noted and four lessons learned while studying this chapter:
I. The olive tree stood through the great flood. (Gen.8:11)It is the tree the dove picked a branch off of.
Lesson learned: We are a small people regardless of our stature or status in today’s world. We as believers in Christ should have much faith to endure great floods that come upon us and encompasses us round about. We can stand through it all and watch the Lord rescue us TODAY. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. (Exodus 14:13)
II. The oil has to be beaten out of the olive. (Lev 24:2; Num. 28:5; Grapes were smashed.)
Lesson learned: We as believers in Christ must go through a beating with fire and a wash with fuller’s soap to be separated from the crap that grew within us and on us before the return of the Lord. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years. “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:2-5) Let us not be forgetful of what Jesus went through for us. What we go through is just a dead limb falling off of the olive tree. The place where the limbs break have the opportunity to reshoot(new growth) once it receives the proper nutrition(the knowledge and love of God). May the Holy Spirit give you wisdom concerning that thought as He gave it to me in writing this thought upon my mind and heart.
III. The olive tree is wild by nature (Rom. 11:17)
Lesson learned: Like the olive tree we are gnarled and twisted at times, yet we are still capable of producing good fruit. (TYHS) We go through many stages in life of disobedience to God due to our wild sinning nature. We need to grasp the truth, NONE of us as shepherds and sheep’s are perfect. When we have been refined in God’s fire and stood through floods what we should not do is let what others think of us and our past keep us in a position of disobedience like the Israelite’s did because the word says “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
I think the olive tree is so representative of our personal family trees (ancestry listings) and church family trees(membership listings). It gives me an understanding of our similarities. Some of us have a sturdy trunk and extensive root system. All are twisted and even as mature adults we get injured. We are not as holy as we think we are with our falling leaves and broken branches. However, we can tolerate a drought with the help of the Holy Spirit. We can stand through floods; we will be beaten to smatterings and we are wild by nature. We need and we should desire correction from the Lord. The word from the Holy Spirit- “Shelia, it’s about the pureness of the oil.” (TYHS) (Read Romans 11:11-24)
Break Time: Have you ever noticed how quiet things are after a storm? Can you imagine the quietness Noah experience after the storm? Imagine the quietness of the Israelite’s when God opened up the earth to put thousands in check. (Read Numbers Chapter 16 & 26) When we believe and receive correction – in the end we need to remember this: But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; (Isaiah 43:1-3)
IV. Heed the voice and teachings of God. For of him, and through him, and to him are all things; to who be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)
Lesson Learned: Listen for the Lord’s voice when He calls you and be obedient, Wherefore COME OUT from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.(2 Cor. 6:17)
Beloved, with this new year that is upon us,it is my prayer that we work to make this a true verse representative of who we are in Christ before His return, for we shall be God’s Remnant To Remain Through It All – Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.( 1 John 3:9)
Note 2 Self- There ain’t nothing wrong with being God’s leftover (remnant)