The Garden of the Lord

I’d say I’m pretty much like every other person who plants a garden. You check it out every day to see how things are coming along.  You get a little excited when you see the first shoots of plants (not weeds) coming up, then you water as needed and fertilize to give the garden the food essential to thrive. And then you see blossoms coming signalling fruit is just ahead. Finally, you see the veggies starting and soon its time to pick the harvest and enjoy the fruit of all your labor !

The Lord uses agricultural analogies much in Scripture and in fact He says through Isaiah, “. . .He (God) looked that it (His vineyard – or God’s people) should bring forth grapes (spiritual fruit or growth). . . ” (5:3).  God presents a picture here of a “fruitful hill” which is Israel, His people. He built a tower in Jerusalem to bring them protection and a place to worship and glorify Him. He planted it with the best (The Word through His prophets, direct revelation, a royal priesthood, a temple, etc.). His intent was for all to fellowship with Him and experience lives of true abundance ans genuine spiritual growth, but we know the story of Israel in the Old Testament and even the New and even today a poll was recently taken among Jewish folks and they stated they would not vote for nor do they trust conservative evangelical candidates ! Same ole, same ole !

So God said through Isaiah that “He looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes” ! (vs.3).   Later in light of their rejection of God He said, “And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the  clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel. . .”  (vss.6-7).  The obvious lesson for us as Christians is that we do not neglect the Lord’s working in our heart !  He expected fruit in His people then, He expects it just the same from you and I today !

Note some of the “wild grapes” in the chapter: (1) materialism, “Woe unto them that join house to house. . .” , vs8 – they sought security in their homes, and fields, etc. (2) hedonism (pursuit of pleasure as the highest good rather than God’s glory & will) “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning that they may follow strong drink. . . and the harp, and the viol. . .but they regard not the work of the Lord. . .” (vss.11-12). “Party on” is the motto.   (3) moral perversion, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil” (vs20) – a preoccupation with self and redefining of what God has said to do what you want. And then (4) arrogancy, “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes.  . .” (vs21)  when no one can tell us we’re wrong anymore, we are this !    When we claim “that’s your interpretation” yet the Bible plainly says what it says, we stunt our growth and the grapes are sour.       He has done SO much for us (we have the Bible, He died on the cross, we have eternal life, our church, a pastor, fellow members to encourage us and see Christ in their lives, the indwelling Holy Spirit, prayer, etc) and yet we run the risk as those Jews in Isaiah’s day of neglecting it all and God looking at your life and seeing the weeds of the world and the wild grapes of sin.  Yet we also have the glorious privilege of growing in grace every day we get up and with every trials and triumph we experience.  Read His Word and allow it to penetrate you heart, respond well to the Lord today and what He brings across your path so that good things continue to come through YOU !!

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