A Tale of Two Vines

“Son of man, how does the wood of the vine surpass any wood, the vine branch that is among the trees of the forest? Is wood taken from it to make anything? Do people take a peg from it to hang any vessel on it?  Behold, it is given to the fire for fuel. When the fire has consumed both ends of it, and the middle of it is charred, is it useful for anything? Behold, when it was whole, it was used for nothing. How much less, when the fire has consumed it and it is charred, can it ever be used for anything! Therefore thus says the Lord God: Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will set my face against them. Though they escape from the fire, the fire shall yet consume them, and you will know that I am the Lord, when I set my face against them. And I will make the land desolate, because they have acted faithlessly, declares the Lord God.” Ezekiel 15:2-8

We have all seen them, the dead brown vines that make a sad display of their lifeless tangle through otherwise lush trees or bushes. Sometimes they have died of natural cause, sometimes they have been poisoned or cut off from their root. In contrast, we marvel at green vines that come from a single stem, yet are supple with strength bearing clusters of rich fruit, wondering how such weight can be supported by something so thin. The secret is in the attachment of the vine to its source.

In this passage, God condemns the faithlessness, and consequent uselessness, of Israel. They had neglected and forsaken their true vine, cutting themselves off from the God who had prepared everything good in his vineyard for them. Their selfish pursuits and godless rebellion rendered them fruitless, worthless. But as Jesus describes in John, the one who abides in Him and His word will bear much fruit, to the father’s glory. Which will I choose today? (John 15:4-8)

My Vine, set my default to abiding in you- attached, clinging, drawing life. Guard me from worthless wandering, from attaching myself to what saps strength and poisons the soul. Nurture me with your truth and develop my fruit for your glory and the good nourishment of others.

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