As children of God, we are like branches of a vine planted by water. Our goal is to remain there. Jesus speaks of this in John 15, describing himself as the vine and us as the branches. When we remain in him, he will bear much fruit through us. Is your desire?
10 “‘Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard
planted by the water;
it was fruitful and full of branches
because of abundant water.
11 Its branches were strong,
fit for a ruler’s scepter.
It towered high
above the thick foliage,
conspicuous for its height
and for its many branches.
12 But it was uprooted in fury
and thrown to the ground.
The east wind made it shrivel,
it was stripped of its fruit;
its strong branches withered
and fire consumed them.
13 Now it is planted in the desert,
in a dry and thirsty land.
14 Fire spread from one of its main branches
and consumed its fruit.
No strong branch is left on it
fit for a ruler’s scepter.’
“This is a lament and is to be used as a lament.”
Ezekiel 19 is the story of Israel, who is like a vine planted by water. She should be blooming and vibrant and fruitful. At the time of Ezekiel’s writing, however, she was uprooted and shriveled. Her young, like lions in a pride, grew up to be strong and became hunters – even man-eaters.
When the first rose up and ended in destruction, his mother nurtured another lion who ended the same way. I can’t help but think of how Israel begged God for a king to rule over them, and how king after king ended in self-destruction. It seems that finding a righteous king to rule over them was near impossible.
Even the ones whom God anointed and had his hand on somehow wrested themselves from his grip to pursue their own ways. Even David, whom we hold up as the man after God’s own heart, struggled with himself. And so we see at the time of Ezekiel, that Israel has been overtaken by Babylon and is captive to them so that they can learn the lesson of going their own ways and seeing the end of their ways.
We have such potential as God’s children. He raises us up in knowledge and understanding of Jesus, and his Spirit grows within us. We have everything going for us, don’t we? And yet we are at risk of going our own ways. As I read Proverbs I realize that it is as easy as looking right or left instead of straight ahead. It is as easy as stepping right or left for a moment. Yet we cannot make this a pattern of life.
We cannot let the roots of disobedience establish themselves and hold us down.
That is the path to exile and separation from God. The alternative, when our source is the vine planted by water, is to remain there. Jesus speaks of this in John 15, describing himself as the vine and us as the branches.
4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
When we remain in Jesus, he will bear much fruit through us. This is my life’s desire. Is it yours?