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Week 54

October 13th, 2017
 
A Fruitful People
Isaiah 26:20–27:13
 
Read
“In that day, sing about the fruitful vineyard. I, the LORD, will watch over it, watering it carefully. Day and night I will watch so no one can harm it. My anger will be gone. If I find briers and thorns growing, I will attack them; I will burn them up—unless they turn to me for help. Let them make peace with me; yes, let them make peace with me.”

The time is coming when Jacob’s descendants will take root. Israel will bud and blossom and fill the whole earth with fruit! Has the LORD struck Israel as he struck her enemies? Has he punished her as he punished them? No, but he exiled Israel to call her to account. She was exiled from her land as though blown away in a storm from the east.

The LORD did this to purge Israel’s wickedness, to take away all her sin. As a result, all the pagan altars will be crushed to dust. No Asherah pole or pagan shrine will be left standing. The fortified towns will be silent and empty, the houses abandoned, the streets overgrown with weeds. Calves will graze there, chewing on twigs and branches. (Isaiah 27:2-10)
 
Reflect
“That day” (27:1) is a reference to the end of the evil world as we know it. In ancient Aramean literature, Leviathan was a seven-headed monster, the enemy of God’s created order. Thus, Isaiah is comparing God’s slaughter of the wicked to the conquering of a great enemy. Although evil is a powerful foe, God will crush it and abolish it from the earth forever.

The trampled vineyard of Isaiah 5 will be restored in God’s new earth. God will protect and care for the vineyard, his people. It will no longer produce worthless fruit but will produce enough good fruit for the whole world. Gentiles will come to know God through Israel.

Isaiah compares the state of Israel’s spiritual life with dry twigs that are broken off and used to make fires (Isaiah 27:11). Trees in Scripture often represent spiritual life. The trunk is the channel of strength from God; the branches are the people who serve him. Tree branches sometimes waver and blow in the wind. Like Israel, they may dry up from internal rottenness and become useless for anything except building a fire.
 
Respond
What kind of branch are you? If you are withering spiritually, check to see if you are firmly attached to God (see John 15).
 
 
 
 
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