True Vine Part One
Isaiah 5:1-7 ESV
Genesis 49:8-10 ESV
John 15:1-7 ESV
In a world where it often seems like nothing is sacred, we realize that everything is sacred. That’s because everything is connected to the vine. God created the heavens and the earth.
Humanity was created by God who longs to be in relationship with all of creation.
God gave us everything we need so we would grow and thrive. God is patient and forgiving.
But the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 5:1-7,
“Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.
What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up;
I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness,
but behold, an outcry!”
Notice the owner of the vineyard worked the soil, cleared stones, planted good vines, added a watchtower, and prepared a wine vat. The owner of the vineyard did everything that should have produced a good yield, but it did not. The vineyard yielded wild grapes that were poisonous.
We find that “Good purposes and good beginnings are good things, but not enough; there must be vineyard fruit; thoughts and affections, words and actions, agreeable to the Spirit. It brought forth bad fruit. Wild grapes are the fruits of the corrupt nature. Where grace does not work, corruption will” (https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary/matthew-henry-concise/isaiah/5).
The owner of the vineyard had no choice but to remove the hedge, break down the wall and let thorns grow.
The rains did not come.
The vineyard of the Lord God was Israel and the house of Judah His “pleasant planting.”
Then came the man from Judah who looked for justice and righteousness. Instead there was bloodshed. There was an outcry.
David was from the house of Judah and we read in Genesis 49:8-10, “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father's sons shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion's cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”
Even in Genesis Jacob (Israel) knew the ancestors of his son Judah would carry the scepter that would rule. King David and his son Solomon were born of the tribe of Judah. Jesus’ mother Mary and her husband Joseph were of the tribe of Judah.
Ultimately, Jesus from the tribe of Judah is the Lion of Judah.
John 15:1-7 tell us, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine,
neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides
in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
Notice when we are connected to the vine and we bear fruit, the vinedresser prunes the vine so it will bear more fruit.
If you are being pruned and tested it’s because you are bearing fruit and God wants to make sure you have what you need to be healthy and bear more fruit.
Jesus also tells us to turn to Him (abide in me) because God doesn’t expect us to bear fruit by ourselves. Jesus is the vine. We can rely on the strength of the vinedresser.
The branches can’t do anything if they are separated from and not relying on the vinedresser.
The branches that bear fruit can ask anything of the vinedresser and it “will be done”.
The branches that don’t bear fruit wither.
This account in scripture seems to go against the grain of what we might expect. In scripture if a branch is producing fruit, it gets pruned. Pruning is painful. In order to prune a branch the vinedresser looks for the area where the branch is thick. A clean cut is made at a downward angle so it will heal properly. At this point the branch is wounded and has to be pruned properly so it will form a callus around the wound.
Also, when the branch is pruned or cut, the branch experiences the severing that has occurred. The vine will feel the same pain that the branch feels.
The vine is aware healing the branch will take time.
The vine carefully gives attention to the branch.
Could that be the reason the vinedresser says in verse 7, “ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”?
God is not oblivious to our growing and healing pains.
Everything we feel is multiplied exponentially IN God. He feels more for us than we can begin to imagine.
Always…God is ALL loving, ALL patient, and ALL forgiving.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Let God prune you.
As difficult as it is, allow God to prune you and be grateful for it. If you are a branch that produces fruit, God will prune you. If you are a branch that has many limbs, every limb will be pruned if it is bearing fruit. If people you know are not being pruned it’s because they are not a branch that is producing fruit.
In God, Deborah