Monday, March 26, 2018

Spring bounty and God's prophecies

The spring has been gentle and the Lord is providing bounty from the earth. The summer garden crops are about to be planted in and they will be plenteous. The figs leaves are coming in. The muscadine vines are thriving. It reminds me in particular of two verses in the Bible. They are promises. That is what prophecies are, you know. Promises of positive things the Lord has in store for the people who love Him and promises of negative things to come for those who don't love Him.

EPrata photo

Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken. (Micah 4:4)

In that day, declares the LORD of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree. (Zechariah 3:10)

In the Bible, vines (usually grape) and fig trees were emblematic of agricultural abundance and that abundance bespoke wealth. Many fig trees meant prosperity. The promised land was described in Deuteronomy 8:8 as "a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates." It was not described as a land flat and therefore ripe for land prospecting development. It was not described as a land full of silver and gold mines. It was not described a land of great cities producing a rich population with guilds and markets. The prosperity the land promised was riches from a bountiful earth. Remember that after the Fall, Adam was cursed with toil, and that the land would not yield unless he toiled with sweat and labor. What was it like before the Fall? I can't wait to find out, and that is what these prophecies promise.

Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, (Genesis 3:17b-19b).

That curse will be reversed and the land will pop with generous abundance. Remember the two spies who came back, in Numbers 13:23 reporting that they saw huge grapes and figs and pomegranates?

Doesn't sitting under our own fig tree and our vine and sound relaxing? Refreshing? Cool? Like walking with God in the garden in the cool of the day. And Jesus said, 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. (John 15:5).

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And look what Jesus did! He did everything! He accomplished redemption for mankind, by breaking His own body and allowing it to be poured out! We are His branches, connected to the Great Gardener whose vine covers us, and which provides all sustenance.

When you're out haying this summer, sweat running down your face, or you're out mowing this summer, and thirsting because of the heat, or you're gardening and battling the bugs who are killing your bean plants, remember the prophecies.

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. (Isaiah 32:18).

I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. (Isaiah 5:1).

As for the saints in the Church, our dwelling place will be New Jerusalem, and it will be just as beautiful as earth's bounty, glittering and pure.

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Revelation 21:9-14)

How beautiful the relationship. We are the branches, closely grafted into the true vine. The true vine covers us, and we sit under it in peace and abundance. The abundance comes from the Vine Dresser who is the Father (John 15:1), who cares for the true vine in love and cares for his children, the branches.

Our God is a tremendous God!!!!!


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Kay Cude poetry: Prelude and Postlude of the Light

Click to enlarge. Used with permission. Poetry written by Kay Cude