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
What a colorful image our Scripture places in our thoughts this morning. An empty vine is one that does not bring forth its fruit in its season. It is planted and watered, but it has no fruit on it. An empty vine does not produce what it was planted to produce. Let us see, this morning, the failure of the empty vine.
We see the elected.
“Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it” (Psalm 80:8). In the Old Testament, Israel is pictured as a choice vine. Beginning with when God took them out of Egyptian bondage and placed them into the land of promise, God wanted His people to be a blessed people and a testimony to the world of God’s life and salvation. We must remember that election refers to our sanctification and purpose in Christ. Our election is according to the foreknowledge of God. God has elected us to serve Him with all our heart and to be a light to a world of darkness.
We see the evil.
“For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter” (Deuteronomy 32:32). The extreme opposite of living for God is living in sin and being far away from Him. God describes a worldly and sinful people as being the vine of Sodom. This is a vine that gives forth wild grapes: grapes of gall and clusters that are bitter. Sin tastes sweet and appealing in the beginning, but over time, it leads to a life of bitterness, discouragement, and defeat. Such a description speaks of a vine that is planted in a field where the soil is tainted, the water is polluted, and the fruit is inedible. None of us are any good to God or others if the soil of our heart is tainted, the water that we drink is polluted, or the fruit that we give off turns people off.
We see the emptiness.
“Israel is an empty vine.” Why was this description given? First, Israel lived for its glory and not for God. It brought forth fruit unto itself. It attached itself to the things of this world, and those things became what it adored and made as its gods. Then, it became independent from God instead of dependent upon God. The danger of being a 21st-century Christian is the emphasis on being my own boss instead of learning to live by faith and trust in God. Where there is no faith, there is no fruit. Where there is independence, there is sterile praying, sterile living, and sterile believers. Second, an empty vine is one that has not been pruned. It has offshoots that are sucking away the vital nutrients that it needs. Sinful living, worldly desires, and bad company steal your love, joy, and fervency. Be careful of becoming an empty vine.
We see the essential.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman” (John 15:1). We must realign the relationship. Jesus is the True Vine! We are His branches. Every branch must have a strong relationship to the vine in order to be fruitful. As His branches, we must abide in Him: that is, we must continue in fellowship with Christ through His Word and prayer. Only then can we bring forth much fruit. We must allow our Father in Heaven to prune us so that the sucker growth is eliminated and we can bring forth much fruit. The essential is that we are completely dependent upon Christ: for without Him, we can do nothing!
Have a prioritized God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Job 32-34