Saturday, August 13, 2016

Unfruitful, or fruitful?

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Isaiah 5:1-7

TO CHEW ON: "He dug it up and cleared out its stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine.
He built a tower in its midst,
And also made a winepress in it;
So He expected it to bring forth good grapes,
But it brought forth wild grapes." - Isaiah 5:2

The disappointment in Isaiah's voice as he tells this parable is impossible to miss. The plea in the voice of the vineyard's owner (God) as He addresses the people directly sounds like someone at wit's end:
"What more could have been done to my vineyard
That I have not done in it?"
Of course we know Isaiah is not talking about a literal vineyard but about the nation of Israel (Isaiah 5:7) and her moral failures. The "good grapes" God is hoping for are a people of holiness. Instead, he gets "wild grapes"—a people characterized by injustice and unrighteousness.

Unfruitfulness is a sobering Bible theme.
  • Jesus identifies two of its causes as worldliness (Matthew 13:22) and a failure to invest life's resources (Luke 19:20).
  • It results in the Master's disappointment (Luke 13:6), judgment (Matthew 3:10), and rejection (Hebrews 6:8).
I ask, what kind of vineyard song would God sing over us? Over me? Let's take John 15:1-8 as our vineyard prayer and challenge to fruitfulness:
"Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me .... If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples (John 15:4, 7-8).

PRAYER: Dear God, like literal vines, I have only a season—a short lifespan—to bear fruit. I don't want to be a disappointment to You. Help me to abide in You and bear much fruit. Amen.

MORE: What fruit?
"What is fruit-bearing? What is the fruit you are called to bear—indeed must bear? I think fruit in this chapter (John 15:1-16) is a broad term and embraces two things: love for people and the conversion of sinners. If you bear fruit, you love people and win people to Christ" - John Piper (from "I Choose You to Bear Fruit"  © Desiring God. Website:
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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