SWEET GRAPES OR BITTER
“Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard.
My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill”
In the Scriptures Israel is likened to a vineyard. Isaiah 5:1-7 is a beautiful song describing God’s “wellbeloved” vineyard. He looked for it to be very fruitful, but instead of bringing forth luscious sweet grapes it brought forth wild grapes.
We as mothers are also likened to fruitful vineyards in Psalm 128:3. God looks for fruit in our families. I am sure we don’t want to be like the description of Israel in Hosea 11:1: “Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself.” When selfishness rules our lives we become an empty vine, but when we are ready to lose our own lives for the lives of others we become a fruitful vine (Mark 8:35).
The above passage reveals to us the principles for being a fruitful vine.
1. BUILD A WALL (verses 2, 5)
We must keep a protective wall around our personal life and our family vineyard. The flesh doesn’t like being hedged in. We like to be free to do what we want to do. However, this kind of attitude leads to an independent spirit which never works to our advantage. It was an independent spirit that caused Satan to be cast out of heaven. He now tries to tempt us with this same spirit, but it leads to destruction.
It is God’s blessing to us when He covers and protects us (Psalm 17:8; 57:1; 61:4; and 91:3). As parents we are to cover and protect our children. Our husbands have the responsibility to protect us, their wives. We all need to be hedged about from the inroads of the enemy. We do this by hedging ourselves and our family about with daily prayer and filling them with God’s Word.
When God’s hedge was around Job, Satan couldn’t touch him. It was only when God lifted the hedge for the testing of His servant for a limited time: “Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for naught? Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land” (Job 1:9, 10).
2. GATHER OUT THE STONES (verse 2)
You can’t plant a vineyard in Israel without first clearing out the big stones. The stones speak of our stony hearts and sticking to our own stubborn way rather than God’s way. God wants to give us a heart of flesh, a soft and tender heart (Isaiah 57:15; 66:1, 2; Ezekiel 11:19; 36:25,27; and James 4:6). We can only bring forth sweet fruit when we have a soft and tender heart to the Lord and to one another. And who wants to eat wild grapes? No one.
3. PRUNE FOR FRUITFULNESS (verse 6)
Those who grow grapevines know they must prune back the vines every year. Without the pruning they will not receive a harvest of delicious, sweet grapes. I have to confess that I don’t know much about pruning trees. Consequently the trees we planted don’t bear much fruit. Pruning is necessary for fruitfulness (John 15:1-7).
Pruning is hard for the vine. All the beautiful branches and leaves are cut right back. We also don’t like to be pruned. We like to grow wherever we want to grow. However, God, our Pruner has to keep a watch on us “wild women.” He knows our tendencies, but He also knows where we will blossom and bloom to the utmost for His glory. And that is in our home, nurturing and raising godly children for His kingdom and glory. Sometimes we can feel hemmed in, pruned to the bone, and frustrated. But that is usually because we listen to deceptive propaganda and are not established in God’s truth that leads us into the glory of His ultimate plan for our lives.
Submit to the pruning in your life. It is for your ultimate blessing and fruitfulness.
4. HOE THE WEEDS (verse 6)
We must continually keep the soil of our hearts free from weeds, all the things that come in so easily to grieve the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. We must also allow the Holy Spirit to keep hoeing in our lives lest our soil become hard and unusable.
5. BUILD A WATCHTOWER (verse 2)
Every vineyard in Bible times had a watchtower. We must not only watch our own lives, but build a watchtower of daily prayer for our home and family. Without vigilant watching, the enemy is sure to subtly enter in. Matthew 24:43 says: “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.” Read also Matthew 26:40, 41; 1 Peter 5:8, 9).
6. SEEK THE HELP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (verse 6)
God said He would “command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.” When they were in Egypt the Israelites relied on the overflow of the Nile River for their irrigation. They stored the water by artificial means and irrigated the fields with treadmills, using their feet. It was hard work. It took sweat and toil. However, in the Promised Land they had to completely rely upon God to provide the rain to row and harvest their vineyards and crops (Deuteronomy 11:10-12). When they were obedient to God’s way, He faithfully sent the promised rains at the right seasons. When they were disobedient and turned away from God’s ways, He held back the rains.
The rain speaks of the Holy Spirit. Without the moving of the Holy Spirit in us, through us, and upon us we can accomplish nothing in growing a fruitful vineyard. We cannot bring about anything in the flesh.
Are you bringing forth sweet grapes or bitter?
Blessings from Nancy Campbell
“Dear Father, I yield my life to the moving of Your Holy Spirit. Please take away my stony heart and give me a soft and tender heart to You, to my husband, and to those around me. Although I don’t always like it, I ask You to prune away all the dead, deceptive, unnecessary, and useless things in my life and prepare me to be a fruitful vessel for your glory. Amen.”
I am building a watchtower of prayer and a wall of protection around my family.
P.S. The pictures show you how much the vinedressers must prune back the vines. But look what happens? A glorious harvest of sweet luscious grapes.