Isaiah 27:2b-3 “Sing about a fruitful vineyard: 3 I, the LORD, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it.
I grew up in Southwestern Michigan in an area known as the Fruitbelt. Orchards and vineyards were everywhere and the area had renown for its wonderful non-citrus fruit. Strawberries, peaches, apples, grapes, plums, blueberries… – it makes me hungry just writing about them. So many different varieties yet how wonderful they all were.
Every farmer and buyer wanted a fruitful season – as well as anyone who enjoyed fruit. I remember walking through vineyards and seeing the vines loaded with ripening grapes. It was particularly nice to be able to pick a bunch of grapes and eat them as we walked. There is something very special about tasting sweet fruit out in the field; that juicy taste in our mouths that says, “YES! – I want another one!!”
But there is a well known expression that covers an experience that we don’t want to have. That expression is ‘sour grapes’. Think of walking along, picking a grape and when you bite into it, your mouth is filled with sourness! You spit it out! Think of being in a fruit market where you are able to sample the fruit before purchasing it. Does the fruit pass the taste test?
Today’s verse particularly applies to Israel, but I love its application to us, both individually and corporately. I love the picture of being a vineyard that the Lord watches over and is sung about. I want to be a fruitful vineyard and I also want to be part of a fruitful vineyard. Jesus said He is the true vine; we are the branches; and the Father is the gardener (think vine dresser). The goal is bearing much fruit – sweet fruit. If we remain in Jesus we will bear much fruit and the Father will prune us so that we will bear even more.
Think of the people that are in our lives. They can be anything from strangers to close friends or family. Also think of our lives being a vineyard where they sample the fruit that we are bearing. What if we have no fruit or if the fruit we have is sour? That is our testimony no matter what we might say. But think of the joy of having abundant fruit and the fruit is sweet. Our lives glorify our Lord Jesus and He will work with us so that we bear even more.