Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. ~Hosea 10:1
I enjoy eating grapes, especially the seedless black and red. Grapes are good for your health with rich anti-oxidants and fiber. The grape industry in the U.S. is very big. According to the National Agricultural Statistic Services in 2016, 7.67 million tons of grapes were grown. California accounted for 6.73 million tons of 88% of this yield. Grapes are grown from vines. Without the vine, there can be no grapes. This morning we are studying importance of the vine.
We see a fruitful vine.
“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall” (Genesis 49:22). Throughout the Old Testament God uses the metaphor of a vine to describe Israel. In Psalm 80:8-11, Israel is described as a vine brought out of Egypt, planted and having deep roots. A fruitful vine is one that bears a large harvest of grapes. A fruitful vine is reliable year in and year out to produce abundantly. In order for it to be fruitful it must allowed to branch out, take deep root, be pruned, hedged in from predators, and well- watered. The fruitful vine is a picture of the Christian life where the roots go downward and bear fruit upward. Our lives must be deeply rooted in our Lord Jesus Christ and the fruit we bring forth includes righteousness, fruit of the Spirit and the salvation of sinners we give the gospel to. God’s will for Israel when it was planted in the land of promise was that it would be fruitful.
We see a faulty vine.
“Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself.” Israel was a disappointment to the Lord. The people became obsessed with idol worship and departed from the Lord. Instead of good grapes, it produced wild grapes. Emptiness is another way of describing it lost its purpose and effectiveness. An empty vine occurs due to neglect, contaminated soil or water, lack of water, or little root. There is no greater tragedy than to be an empty Christian. We bear the name of Christian, but our life bears nothing of the fruit of righteousness, of the Spirit, or salvation of sinners. We must ask ourselves the question “how’s your fruit?” “What kind of fruit are you bearing?”
We see a faithful vine.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman” (John 15:1). Jesus Christ is the true and faithful Vine. As the true Vine, He is God. As the true Vine, He is sinless. As the true Vine, He gave His life for every sinner. As the true Vine, we find our source for fruitfulness through our fellowship in Him. As His branches, we must have a vital connection to Him. This is described as abiding in Him. Abiding means we are to continue, to have fellowship, and to find our life support completely in him. As the true Vine, He never fails. When we are vitally abiding in Him, we are able to bring forth fruit, more fruit and much fruit. However, as his branches, we are completely dependent upon Him. We must be nurtured, pruned, guarded and allow to branch out. We must never forget that without him we can do nothing.
Are you bearing fruit for our Lord? Are you finding your contentment in abiding deeply in Him for your strength and power?
Have a fruitful God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Joshua 1-4