This scriptural passage refers to the election of the Jews. It is a favorite motto of the apostle Saint Paul under the influence of the Holy Spirit and inspired from on high that Israel and the pagan nations will be united by one faith and in the one holy Christian Church. This is not cancelled by the temporary rejection of Israel as this only opens the gates for the pagan nations to enter into the kingdom of God. The natural branches are withering and dry, but new branches are grafted in by the good gardener, the Lord of the Church. This temporary adjudication for the benefit of the pagans and to the detriment of Israel will stop once the living God in his unsearchable goodness, mercy and faithfulness will once again bring the natural branches to flourish and fruition bearing countless blessings. The unification of Jews and pagans into one Church is the holy purpose of God in history – even if he has closed off Israel for a time being and allowed those, that were not children to be part of the family too. This is what is happening in history. God is doing his part and bringing his plan to fulfillment. We can’t really fathom all that, but must join the holy apostle St. Paul in his words of praise and adoration: Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! (Rom 11:33 NIV) Our insight, knowledge and wisdom is just too restricted to grasp these extraordinary words and meanings.
Dear Father in heaven! We pray to you from the bottom of our heart for your people Israel. Convert them from their disbelief and let them recognize Jesus Christ as your Son and their Messiah. Let the time come, when the pagan nations have been called and Israel be saved. Equip your holy Christendom and Church with faithful power of your Holy Spirit, so that they will be loving and faithful witnesses in this world and shining examples of your grace and mercy before all nations – especially the Jewish and Muslim people on this earth. Lord, holy God, we also plead for our own nation, that it will recognize you in your holy word and that it will listen to you and obey your will, believing in your Son as Lord and savior of the world. There are yet far too many, who don’t recognize what is serving peace and finds your good will. Wake up all souls and every conscience, that they will gather under the cross of your son and put all hope, trust and faith in him alone. Amen. (O.J. Mehl)
Oh may the help come from Zion! Oh would your Spirit bring out your people from prison as promised! Oh would it be light before dark! Oh Lord tear open the heavens and come down to help and set us free.
Oh let your word run free and speedily to the ends of the world so that no place be without its light and shine. Oh bring in the full contingent of pagans from across the globe and yes, awaken your old Israel too – so bless your word’s course and purpose. (Karl Heinrich von Bogatzky, 1690-1774)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Tuesday after the festival of Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 217 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.