If God didn't think twice about taking pruning shears to the natural branches, why would he hesitate over you? He wouldn't give it a second thought.
Make sure you stay alert to these qualities of gentle kindness and ruthless severity that exist side by side in God - ruthless with the deadwood, gentle with the grafted shoot. But don't presume on this gentleness. The moment you become deadwood, you're out of there.
And don't get to feeling superior to those pruned branches down on the ground. If they don't persist in remaining deadwood, they could very well get grafted back in. God can do that. He can perform miracle grafts.
Why, if he could graft you - branches cut from a tree out in the wild - into an orchard tree, he certainly isn't going to have any trouble grafting branches back into the tree they grew from in the first place. Just be glad you're in the tree, and hope for the best for the others.
I want to lay all this out on the table as clearly as I can, friends. This is complicated. It would be easy to misinterpret what's going on and arrogantly assume that you're royalty and they're just rabble, out on their ears for good. But that's not it at all. This hardness on the part of insider Israel toward God is temporary. Its effect is to open things up to all the outsiders so that we end up with a full house.
Before it's all over, there will be a complete Israel. As it is written, A champion will stride down from the mountain of Zion; he'll clean house in Jacob.
And this is my commitment to my people: removal of their sins.
From your point of view as you hear and embrace the good news of the Message, it looks like the Jews are God's enemies. But looked at from the long-range perspective of God's overall purpose, they remain God's oldest friends.
God's gifts and God's call are under full warranty - never canceled, never rescinded.
There was a time not so long ago when you were on the outs with God. But then the Jews slammed the door on him and things opened up for you.
Now they are on the outs. But with the door held wide open for you, they have a way back in.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)