The leafless tree
“But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” Isaiah 6:13
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 11:11-24
“The race of Abraham shall endure for ever, and his seed as many generations.” But why is it that the Jewish race is preserved? We have our answer in the text: “The holy seed is the substance thereof.” There is something within a tree mysterious, hidden and unknown, which preserves life in it when everything outward tends to kill it. So in the Jewish race there is a secret element which keeps it alive. We know what it is; it is the ‘remnant according to the election of grace;’ in the worst of ages there has never been a day so black but there was a Hebrew found to hold the lamp of God. There has always been found a Jew who loved Jesus; and though the race now despise the great Redeemer, yet there are not a few of the Hebrew race who still love Jesus the Saviour of the uncircumcised, and bow before him. It is these few, this holy seed, that are the substance of the nation; and for their sake, through their prayers, because of God’s love to them, he still says of Israel to all nations, “Touch not these mine anointed, do my prophets no harm. These are the descendants of Abraham, my friend. I have sworn and will not repent; I will show kindness unto them for their father’s sake, and for the sake of the remnant I have chosen.” Let us think a little more of the Jews than we have been wont; let us pray oftener for them. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love her.” As truly as any great thing is done in this world for Christ’s kingdom, the Jews will have more to do with it than any of us have dreamed.
For meditation: Do you attach anything like the same priority to the Jews as God does (Romans 1:16; 2:9,10)? “How odd of God to choose the Jews” (William Norman Ewer)—but not as odd as those who choose a Jewish God and hate the Jews.
Sermon no. 121
9 March (Preached 8 March 1857)