And if some of the branches be broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them…
I. THE JEWS HAVE EVER FALLEN THROUGH UNBELIEF.
1. They came to the confines of the "land flowing with milk and honey"; the Anakims, and the cities fenced and walled up to heaven, stood before them for their prey. They measured the men and the walls accurately, but they did not measure how "He that was for them was greater than all that was against them," and therefore they were sent back to wander and "perish in the wilderness."
2. Presently we see them with God only as their King, but they could not appreciate an invisible King. As they had before shown no "faith" in God's protection, so now they disbelieved His sovereignty. "He gave them a king in His anger, and He took him away in His wrath."
3. In the midst of their distresses they began to lean on idols and arms of flesh, until "unbelief," ripening into apostasy, they were carried away into Babylon. "Because of unbelief they were broken off."
4. But in mercy God brought them back again, and infinite was their privilege and opportunity when Christ walked their streets. But "their eyes were blinded," the living Truth was before their eyes, but "they perceived Him not." The Holy Ghost descended upon them, they witnessed His wonder-works, they felt the drawings of His grace, but they denied His convictions and blasphemed His glory. And such as was their "unbelief," so is their punishment. They were "broken off," and there they lie, fruitless, despised, but never dead, till they shall be "grafted in again."
II. WHAT IT IS TO "STAND BY FAITH." "Faith" is simply a medium to transmit pardon and grace. But every saved man finds "faith" the actual instrument which holds him up. In the one case it is as the wire which conveys the message; in the other it is the invisible chain which holds the planet in its course.
2. There is an inferior sense in which a man "stands by faith," since confidence is always the secret of composure, as composure is the secret of power. The little child will walk, and what is much harder, will "stand" as soon as he has confidence enough.
3. But in its truer signification to "stand by faith" is —
1. To have thrown away every other dependence. I am unable, everything in the universe is unable to keep me, "Hold Thou me up and I shall stand."
2. To believe, and not doubt, that you are in a state of full acceptance with God. Without this there never will be firmness of principle enough to make you "stand."
3. To be in continual communication with the Unseen. It is the strength of secret prayer. It is to feel yourself in the deep waters, upheld by an arm that will never, never let you sink.
4. To have the most entire conviction that the work is God's work, and that He will complete it.Conclusion:
1. Let us be very humble, for it is an easy thing to fall, seeing we only "stand by faith," and "faith" is a fine, delicate thing, and we all know how hard it is to believe at all times.
2. Nevertheless, let us have a holy confidence, for Christ says, "I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not."
3. And by and by the Jews will "stand" as never a nation stood, and then that word will be true to them also, "thou standest by faith." To help along, to help along one single child of Abraham to that "stand of faith" is the present duty.
(J. Vaughan, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;