“Have you not heard
that I determined it long ago?
I planned from days of old
what now I bring to pass,
that you should turn fortified cities
into heaps of ruins,
while their inhabitants, shorn of strength,
are dismayed and confounded,
and have become like plants of the field
and like tender grass,
like grass on the housetops,
blighted before it is grown.
“I know your sitting down
and your going out and coming in,
and your raging against me.
Because you have raged against me
and your complacency has come into my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth,
and I will turn you back on the way
by which you came.
“And this shall be the sign for you: this year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs of the same. Then in the third year sow and reap and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord will do this.” 2 Kings 19:25-31
Israel’s planting roots of rebellion reaped the judgment of God. From the beginning, in grace, when He gave every good thing, man turned his own way. But from the beginning, also in grace, He planned to redeem. He is upright in His pronouncements and plans, warning His own and keeping His word. And while His holiness requires judgment against our rage, His mercy offers deliverance. (Genesis 1:31;3:1-7; Romans 5:8)
Are we so accustomed to living in this middle land that we neglect sending roots downward into the fertile soil of Christ? We cannot bear any fruit that lasts without abiding in Jesus. Do we make light of His mercies and righteousness, eschewing His call to obedience and flippantly continuing in sin, pretending that grace will continue to flow? May it never be! Do we settle for worshiping what He has made instead of Him? For this He will not stand! (John 15:5; Romans 1:18-24; 6:1-2)
What will we do by way of focused time and genuine confession to turn up the soil of our hearts? How deeply do we allow God’s word to reach into our shame, our flesh tendencies, our personality or behavioral weaknesses that are out of His Spirit‘s control? What is its effect? When He enters and does what only He can, we are set free to go deep and energized to break forth in bloom for Him, to bear great fruit of righteousness. (Matthew 13:3-9; Galatians 5:22–23)
As inhabitants of cities of this earth that are fortified with worldly thinking and pride-filled doing, we have daily choices. Will we get drawn into their angry rebellion against all that is lofty, or swallowed by their malaise of spiritual complacency? Or will we send roots deep in Christ’s attributes and grow upward to reflect His beauties and grace? Oh, to survive the world’s onslaught and bloom for Him!
Lord, may Your zeal have its way with all of me, that I produce rich fruit to Your glory.