“Let me sing for my beloved
my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes.” Isaiah 5:1-2
“In that day,
‘A pleasant vineyard, sing of it!
I, the Lord, am its keeper;
every moment I water it.
Lest anyone punish it,
I keep it night and day…’
“In days to come Jacob shall take root,
Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots
and fill the whole world with fruit.” Isaiah 27:2-3,6
Vineyards are long in the making, cultivating, and tending, but once fruit is harvested, pleasantness flows and joy abounds. The years of wise care must be measured, thoughtful, and patient. Every effort at preparing, digging, culling, cutting, removing pests, pruning, and training, is toward a fruitful end that is always worth the effort and wait. (James 5:7-8)
It is the sure hope of God’s keeping that prompts us to send out shoots of risk and trust. It is the song of joy at the end that spurs us on through the tedium of required monotony. It is the promise of bountiful, delicious harvest that invites deepening faith through the detours, droughts, and impossibilities that loom in the present.
Our Lord has such wonderful intentions for His children, and provides all we need to live fruitfully, to understand and live in the flow of His will and to make a difference in our spheres of influence. If we would but remember His love songs and His care, His protective boundaries and ample nourishment, we would never wander out to strange fields. But the nasty little pests of pride and stubbornness and flesh, of self-will and preference for my way, can debilitate the best of good plans.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser… Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing… By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples… These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full…You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.” John 15:1,4-5,8,11,16
The secret of a pleasant and lush vineyard is our connectedness to the Vine. How closely are we abiding? In what ways do we take advantage of God’s prepared and cleared soil in our hearts, and take in His pleasant rains of truth to foster spiritual growth? How well disciplined are our efforts to move and stretch in HIs guided directions? Where do we need to yield to His pruning and reshaping?
Father, cause the vineyard of my life to bear sweet fruit for the good of others and the glory of Your name.