Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters five through seven of this Old Testament prophetic book. When you come to the fifth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah you will find the prophet Isaiah breaking forth in song, yet not your typical song which you would think would be sung in the courts of the sanctuary of the LORD, nor even as one made their way unto the sacred and ancient city with their gifts and offerings in tow. The song which you find in the fifth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book is essentially an allegory and is meant to present the heart and mind of the living God by essentially painting a picture which the people of Judah and Jerusalem would undoubtedly understand. The words which we find written and recorded in the fifth chapter are words which are essentially an allegory and parable which were designed to present the people of God in Judah and Jerusalem with a means to understand that which the LORD established in the earth, that which the LORD required, that which the LORD looked for, and yet despite the fact that the LORD looked for and sought something, He would find Himself not finding that which He was truly and indeed seeking after. The allegory and song which is found within this particular passage of Scripture is actually quite intriguing when you think about it, for this wouldn’t be the only time in Scripture where such a song would be found. If you turn and direct your attention to the New Testament gospel narratives which were written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find another allegory and parable which was given concerning a vineyard which the LORD planted—and not only which the LORD planted, but also sought for and desired that He might find fruit. Upon thinking about and considering the words which are found within this particular passage of Scripture it is absolutely necessary that you recognize and understand the importance of fruit, and how the LORD has always and will always seek for fruit within the lives of His people here upon the earth. As you read the words found within this particular allegory and song you will not only find that which the LORD did in planting the vineyard, but also what the LORD looked for and sought after upon planting the vineyard in the midst of the earth. With this in mind, I invite you to consider if you will the words which are found in this song concerning the vineyard and that which the living and eternal God was seeking after beginning with the first verse:
“Now will I sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: and He fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a wine press therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes” (Isaiah 5:1-2).
The first two verses of the fifth chapter actually contain the allegory and song concerning the vineyard which the LORD planted in the earth—and not only reveal the vineyard which was planted in the midst of the earth, but how the vineyard was planted in a very fruitful hill. Before I even get into the allegory and parable that is found within this particular portion of Scripture I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that the words of this song point to something else that was planted in the earth—something that was planted at the beginning at the time when the LORD God planted something else in the earth. What’s more, is that you will find that during this time—not only did the LORD plant something in the midst of and upon the earth, but the LORD also placed someone in the midst of it. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the opening chapters of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find the LORD creating the heavens and the earth, and everything that was contained therein, but also—after He had finished creating the heavens and the earth—planting a garden in the midst of the earth. The first and opening chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis describes the creation of the heavens and the earth in verses one through twenty-five, while verses twenty-six through the rest of the chapter describe the making of man in the image and after the likeness of the living God. As you read the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find the LORD creating the heavens and the earth, while in the second chapter of this same Old Testament book you will find the LORD planting, you will find the LORD forming, you will find the LORD breathing, you will find the LORD placing, and you will find the LORD taking. The second chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis will begin with the LORD resting on the seventh day after creating the heavens and the earth and everything in it within the first six days. On the eighth day, however, we find the LORD moving beyond creating by the authority and power of the Word to actually planting and forming.
Perhaps one of the most fundamental and foundational truths contained in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis is that you no longer find the LORD speaking things into existence by the word of His mouth as He did the first six days of creation, but now you find the LORD actually becoming more involved and actually engaging in the work within and upon the earth. Rather than creating something from nothing, the LORD now plants in the midst of that which He already created, and forming from that which He already created. It’s interesting to note that the garden sprang forth from that which the LORD had created within the first six days of creation, while Adam was formed from the dust of the ground, and from that which was already in existence upon the earth. How absolutely intriguing it is to think about and consider the fact that both Adam and the garden of Eden itself seemed to spring forth from the earth which the LORD created, as the LORD would plant the garden within and upon what He had already created, and would form Adam by taking what had been created and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. It’s truly something worth noting and pointing out that the entire first chapter deals exclusively and specifically with the LORD creating by the word of His mouth, while within the second chapter you will not find the LORD creating by the word spoken forth from His mouth, but rather planting and forming. It’s important that we recognize and understand this, for it helps us understand the song and allegory which the prophet Isaiah sang concerning the well beloved and the vineyard which He planted. What’s more, is that I am convinced the same thing the LORD looked for in the vineyard was the same thing He looked for in the garden. Even more than this, you will find that when the LORD planted man in the garden He gave him a very specific invitation, and an even more specific command. The invitation was to freely eat of all the fruit of every tree in the garden of Eden, while the command was to abstain from eating and partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It’s worth noting that the LORD would plant a garden in the midst of the earth, would plant trees in the midst of the garden, and would fill those trees with fruit, and yet it would be the fruit of one tree that would ultimately introduce sin and death into the world. Moreover, it would be the concept of fruit that would be at the center of what we find in the song of the vineyard in the fifth chapter of the book of Isaiah. With that in mind, consider if you will the words which are found in the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis, as well as the words which are found in the second and third chapters:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that move the, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:1-25).
It is with these words that we find the LORD creating the heavens, the earth, and every thing that was within and upon them. You cannot read the words found within these twenty-five verses and not encounter the absolute power of the glorious God creating something out of nothing, and doing so with nothing more than the spoken word of His mouth. Absolutely everything that was created within the opening twenty-five verses of the first chapter of the book of Genesis describes how the LORD created something from nothing, and how He did so with nothing more than the word of His mouth and the authority that is found within the word(s) He speaks. The first twenty-five verses of the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis brings us face to face with the reality that the living and eternal God can speak anything into existence, and can do so simply by the word of His mouth. When, however, you come to the twenty-sixth verse of this chapter you begin to notice a shift and transition into how the LORD creates, how the LORD makes, and how the LORD forms things. When it came to the creation of man you will not find the living God speaking man into existence, but rather taking and creating man from that which had already been created. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for the words we find in the final verses of the first chapter, as well as the words found in the second chapter describes how the LORD actually formed and made man from the dust of the earth rather than speaking him into existence. With this in view and in your mind, I invite you to consider the words which are found in the latter portion of the first chapter, as well as the second chapter of this same Old Testament book:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:26-31).
“These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD god had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:4-7).
Both of these passages bring us face to face with the reality that when it came to the creation of man, the LORD did not speak man into existence as He had done everything else He had created. The heavens and the earth, and everything that was created within them camera into existence based on the word and the authority of the living and eternal God, and yet when it came to man the LORD did not speak Him into existence with a word. When it came to man being created in the midst of the earth we find that the LORD God actually formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. What’s more, is that concerning man we learn that not only was he a living soul, but he was also created in the image and after the likeness of the living and eternal God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly astonishing reality, for to do so would be to miss out on that which the LORD truly desires to speak and reveal within these chapters. Concerning man and his creation within and upon the earth we find that man was taken from the dust of the ground, and that man was formed from the dust of the ground that he might fashion him into something of His own heart and mind. Once the LORD had finished forming and fashioning man, and as man lie there lifeless on the ground—not yet a living soul, nor yet a living being—we find the LORD breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, thus causing man to become a living soul. It’s interesting and worth noting that the seventh verse of the second chapter concludes with man becoming a living soul, while the eighth verse opens after the formation of man to the planting of a garden. The seventh verse of the second chapter describes the formation of man from the dust of the ground, and yet the eighth verse finds the LORD continuing to move from speaking things into existence to actually planting within and upon the earth. We know that on the sixth day the LORD created every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed upon the earth, and yet when you come to the second chapter of the book of Genesis, and to the eighth verse of the chapter you will find the LORD God planting a garden eastward in the earth in Eden. It is this concept of the garden and the LORD planting it that must be considered, for it helps shed a tremendous amount of light—not only on the events that would take place in the third chapter surrounding the fall of man, but also the song of the vineyard which was found in the fifth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah. Consider if you will the words which are found in this second chapter beginning to read with and from the eighth verse:
“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compaseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:8-17).
The words found within this portion of Scripture present us with the reality that after the LORD God formed God of the dust of the ground outside of the garden in Eden, He then also planted a garden eastward in Eden. It’s worth noting that man was formed outside of the garden which was in Eden, the garden was planted eastward in Eden, and then man was placed within the garden. The eighth verse of this chapter describes how the LORD took the man whom He had formed, and how He placed him in the midst of the garden—in the midst of a place where out of the ground He caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. Within that garden there were two specific trees—one which had a powerful invitation connected to it, and the other which had a command and warning connected to it. Within the garden where the LORD God placed man, there was the tree of life which man could freely eat from, while there was a second tree which man was prohibited to eat from. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was the one tree in the midst of the garden which man was prohibited to eat from, for in the day in which he ate he would surely die. The LORD God placed man in the garden which He had planted, and the LORD God gave man every tree and its fruit to partake of, which would include the tree of life. There was only one tree in the garden which man could not eat from, thus indicating that although the LORD God placed man in the garden surrounded by trees and fruit, there was a fruit within the man which the LORD was looking for. The fruit which the living and eternal God was looking for was the fruit of obedience, as man would choose whether or not to walk in obedience to the divine command and instruction of the LORD. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for the garden of Eden and the vineyard which the prophet Isaiah sang about in the fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah are very much similar in that the LORD desired and sought for fruit. The LORD God planted the garden eastward in Eden, planted trees with an abundance of fruit in the midst of the garden, and then placed man in the midst of the garden whom He was looking for the fruit of obedience. The LORD God planted a vineyard, which was spoken of in the song which Isaiah sang, and it was within that vineyard the LORD once more was looking for fruit—the fruit of righteousness, the fruit of obedience, the fruit of a life that was wholly submitted to the living and eternal God.
It is with this in mind, and before we return back to the fifth chapter of the Old Testament book of Isaiah I invite you to consider the narrative that took place in the third chapter of the book of Genesis. The events which took place in this chapter would not only introduce sin and death into the world, but would also be a tremendous complication regarding the fruit which the LORD was looking for. Instead of Adam and Eve producing the fruit of obedience and righteousness, they would choose to partake of a forbidden fruit which the LORD God commanded them not to. Consider now if you will the words which are found in the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis and essentially a tale of three fruits—the forbidden fruit, the free fruit, and the fruit of righteousness and obedience:
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And He said unto the woman, Yea, hath god said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant too the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and dead eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast Hearken did unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou at bread, till thou turn unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou turn. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:1-24).
Upon reading and considering the words which are found in the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find that Adam and Eve were both placed within the garden, and while Adam was formed outside the garden and placed in the garden, Eve was taken from Adam in the midst of the garden and accompanied him in the midst of it. Adam and Eve were given the privilege of eating of the fruit of every tree the LORD planted in the midst of the garden with the noted exception of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The question I can’t help but wonder is how long Adam and Eve freely ate of the fruit of every other tree in the garden before that fateful day when the serpent beguiled Eve and she partook of the fruit of that forbidden tree, and then gave it to Adam. I find myself thinking about how long Adam and Eve enjoyed all the pleasures and delights of the garden as the LORD God would walk in the garden with them—perhaps even during the cool of the day. I wonder how often they freely ate of the fruit of every other tree in the garden—perhaps even including the fruit from the tree of life—before that day came when they would eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They had enjoyed all the fruit from every other tree in the garden, and the serpent would beguile Eve concerning that one tree which was forbidden in the midst of it. What’s interesting to note is that when the LORD created and planted all the trees in the garden—including the tree of knowledge of good and evil—He made all the trees pleasing to the eyes and good for food. We must recognize and understand that the tree of knowledge of good and evil was pleasing to the eyes, and the fruit of it was good for food. In fact, this is what ultimately solidified the trap, the snare and the temptation in the heart and mind of Eve, for she saw that the tree was pleasant to the eyes, she saw that it was good for food, and she even saw that it was desirable to make one wise. This is something we must needs recognize and consider when thinking about Adam and Eve in the garden, for the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, the LORD God placed Adam in the garden, and then formed Eve from Adam, and allowed them to freely eat of everything He had planted—save one tree—and enjoy everything the garden had to offer. IT would be there in the garden of Eden the LORD would allow Adam and Eve to freely eat of the fruit which was in the garden, and would also look for and expect fruit from them.
PARTAKING OF FRUIT, PRODUCING FRUIT! Perhaps one of the most noted realities surrounding the garden of Eden, as well as the vineyard which the living God planted in the midst of the earth is that in the case of the garden of Eden Adam and Eve were permitted to freely partake of the fruit within the garden, as well as being expected to produce fruit. When you consider the vineyard the LORD God planted in the midst of the earth you will find the same principle at play, and the same principle at work—the LORD freely allowed His people to partake of the fruit of the land, but in direct connection with partaking of the fruit of the land was a call and responsibility to produce fruit themselves. It isn’t enough to partake of the fruit the LORD has set before us and not also produce the fruit which He is looking for. We tend to think and are convinced that it is enough simply to partake of the fruit which the LORD has set before us, and all the while we completely and utterly reject the idea that the LORD has placed a responsibility upon us to produce the fruit that is pleasing and acceptable in His sight. Who knows how long Adam and Eve partook of the fruit in the midst of the garden and produced the fruit the LORD was looking for before they would both eat of that fruit which was forbidden, and as a direct result of their disobedience sin and death would be introduced into the earth. Oh that we would recognize and understand this particular reality, for it is this reality that helps us to understand the song of the vineyard that is found in the fifth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah. The song of the vineyard wasn’t merely about the LORD planting a vineyard in the midst of the earth, but also the LORD planting that vineyard and expecting fruit. In all reality, it is the same principle that surrounds the fig tree which Jesus would curse when He looked upon it and expected fruit and saw that there was none. In fact, I am convinced that in order to truly understand this song of the vineyard it is necessary to understand the parable which Jesus spoke of the fig tree, the literal fig tree Jesus saw, looked for fruit within, and ultimately cursed. What’s more, is that it is imperative to look at some of the references which the LORD spoke concerning the land of Israel—this land flowing with milk and honey. Consider if you will the following passages of Scripture which are found in Scripture concerning the fig tree, as well as the land flowing with milk and honey:
“Now in the morning as He returned into the city, He hungred. And when He saw a fig tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying How soon is the fig tree withered away! Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and bout not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:19-22).
“And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: when He came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And His disciples heard it…And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:12-14, 20-26).
“And the LORD said, I have surely s even the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hittites, and the Jebusite. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall e a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, THE LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: and I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:7-17).
“Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out. And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them. But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 20:22-24).
“Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: that thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou wallets by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou sh alt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates” (Deuteronomy 6:1-9).
It is quite clear from the passages concerning the land which flowed with milk and honey—passages which are but a few compared to all the ones contained within Scripture—that the LORD was taking the children of Israel and placing them into a land which He Himself had planted. We must recognize and understand that the land of Israel was a land which was originally planted by the LORD, and was originally occupied by other nations and peoples. The land which the children of Israel were entering into was a land flowing with milk and honey, and it was a land of fields and vineyards, of olive groves, and of tremendous fruit. I can’t help but be reminded of the cluster of the grapes which the spies brought back from the land of Canaan when they returned unto the children of Israel, and how they essentially brought back the fruit of the land—a tangible manifestation of the provision that was found within the land. There is absolutely no mistaking the absolutely tremendous reality that the land of Canaan was indeed flowing with milk and honey, and that it was a land of olive groves, and vineyards, and various manner of fruit, and it was a land into which the LORD would place His people—much like He took and placed Adam in the midst of the garden. What we must realize, however, is that despite the fact the LORD placed the children of Israel into the midst of the land surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, and in the midst of a land flowing with milk and honey, and in the midst of a land with a variety of fruits, He was still looking for fruit within and from them. The LORD would indeed bring the children of Israel into a land that had an abundance of fruit, and the twelve spies had the chance to partake of the fruit of that land, however, just like Adam was placed in the garden and given the ability to partake of fruit while also being called to produce fruit, so also the children of Israel were placed in the midst of the land which the LORD God had planted, while at the same time being required to produce and bring forth fruit. You cannot read the narrative of the children of Israel as they are journeying through the wilderness without coming face to face with and encountering the fact that as much as the LORD was bringing His people into the midst of the land of Canaan and giving them a fruitful land, He was also demanding, expecting and requiring of them fruit. In fact, when we speak about fruit we must not only understand the freedom to partake of the fruit, but also the responsibility to produce fruit. What’s more, is that I would dare say the two are intrinsically linked and cannot be separated from the other. Regardless of how much we try to separate partaking of fruit from producing fruit it is absolutely impossible to do in the economy of God.
With all of this being said, you will find that on His way to Jerusalem Jesus came unto a fig tree along the way, and upon seeing the fig tree from afar off He was hungry. What’s more, is that not only was Jesus hungry, but Jesus came to the fig tree expecting it to produce and have upon it fruit. Much to His disappointment He came to the fig tree and when He desired and sought for fruit, He would find only leaves. As a direct result of the fig tree having only leaves and bearing not fruit, we find Jesus cursing the fig tree and declaring that it would no longer bear or bring forth fruit. The synoptic would record how immediately the tree would wither based on the words which Jesus spoke unto it. This is important to realize and recognize, for when you come to the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke you will find Jesus speaking forth a parable concerning a fig tree which was planted in a vineyard. In all reality, the parable which Jesus spoke on this particular occasion would be eerily similar to the song of the vineyard which the prophet Isaiah spoke and wrote in the prophetic book bearing his name. The parable which Jesus would speak in this New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke would once more speak of that which was planted, and once more how the one who planted came unto it and expected fruit. The tragic reality is that just as the vineyard which was planted in the song which Isaiah sang, this fig tree which was planted did not bring forth fruit. Taking this a step further, you will find the man who planted the fig tree coming unto it for three years straight, and each year being disappointed that it bore nor fruit. The way the parable goes is that the one who planted the vineyard would speak unto the dresser of the vineyard and declare how he came three years looking for fruit upon the tree, and yet he would find none. This man thought to cut down the fig tree and be done with it, however, the dresser of the vineyard would respond to him by asking him to leave it alone that year until he dug about it, and dung it. If the fig tree bore fruit after the additional work which would be done then it would be well for the tree and the owner, but if it still bore no fruit, then it would be hewn down. With this in mind, consider if you will the words which are found within this parable:
“He spake also this parable, A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down” (Luke 13:6-9).
THE RESPONSIBILITY TO BEAR FRUIT! MATTHEW 3! MATTHEW 7:17-19! MATTHEW 12:33! MATHEW 13:23-26! MARK 4! LUKE 3! LUKE 6:33-34! LUKE 8:14-15! JOHN 15:1-16! GALATIANS 5:16-26! THE PURSUIT OF FRUIT! THE DESIRE OF FRUIT! PARTAKING OF FRUIT! PRODUCING FRUIT! The more you consider the narrative of the song of the vineyard as it is found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah, as well as the parable which Jesus spoke concerning the fig tree which a man planted in the midst of his vineyard, the more you will encounter one common theme and one common denominator—namely, the pursuit of fruit. It’s worth noting and mentioning that neither the vineyard, nor the fig tree were planted without the anticipation and expectation of fruit being produced within and by them. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this truly astonishing and remarkable reality, for when we speak of both the parable of the fig tree and the song of the vineyard we must acknowledge the fact that fruit was the ultimate desire when both were planted. It is this concept of fruit that is found within the four gospel narratives which were written by the New Testament gospel authors, as there were distinct references to fruit contained therein. For instance, you will find John the Baptist speaking unto the scribes, the Pharisees, and those who came unto him to be baptized in water to bring forth fruits unto repentance. For John the Baptist, water baptism was a necessary and important step, however, it was only part of the picture and part of the process, for there was also the matter of producing and bringing forth fruit in the midst of the earth in preparation for the kingdom of heaven being manifested within and upon the earth. What’s more, is that in the Sermon on the Mount we again find Jesus speaking of fruit and how it is by our fruit we are known, for fruit is perhaps one of the greatest and ultimate litmus tests whether or not we are indeed and in fact one of His disciples. There is also the parable of the seed and the sower which the farmer planted, which he undoubtedly expected the seed to bring forth fruit. Of the four different places and four different types of soil the farmer planted his seed upon only one of them brought forth fruit, and that some thirty fold, some sixty fold, and some an hundred fold. Of course the ultimate reality and expression of bearing and bringing forth fruit as found within the four gospel narratives is found in the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John when we find Jesus referring to Himself as the vine and us as the branches. It is with this analogy Jesus emphatically declared that we can in and of ourselves do nothing, and that we need to abide in Him. The only way we can even think, hope and expect to bring forth fruit is by abiding in Him, for fruit can only come when we are connected to the source of life that can help produce it.
It is with this in mind I invite you to consider at least a few of these references found within the New Testament gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, for it is within these passages we come face to face with the truly awesome reality that we were chosen that we might bear and bring forth much fruit. We cannot and must not seek to escape the awesome reality that we were chosen in Jesus Christ by the Father that we might bear and bring forth much fruit, and there is an underlying expectation that we would indeed bring forth fruit which was pleasing unto the Father, and pleasing in His sight. The vineyard in the song of Isaiah, as well as the fig tree which was found in the parable of Jesus, and even the fig tree which Jesus saw on His way to Jerusalem are all allegories and imagery of the city of Jerusalem, and how the city of Jerusalem was that which was planted in the midst of the land and expected to bring forth fruit. What’s more, is that we must understand the allegories of the vineyard and the fig tree to not only be a picture and representative of Jerusalem being planted in the midst of the land of Israel, but we must also consider the fact that they are an allegory and picture of Israel itself which was planted among the nations of the earth. Both the city of Jerusalem, as well as the nation and land of Israel were planted within and upon the earth with the expectation that they would bring forth fruit, and we must clearly see and clearly recognize this, for both the prophet Isaiah and the eternal Son of God expressed this tremendous reality of the fig tree and vineyard—not only to speak to the desire and expectation of fruit, but also to speak directly to Jerusalem in the midst of the land, and Israel in the midst of the nations. Although the land of Canaan was indeed a land flowing with milk and honey, and although it was a land that possessed and contained vineyards, olive groves and an abundance of fruit in the midst of it, there was the underlying expectation that the children of Israel would bear and bring forth fruit in the midst of the land—fruit of righteousness, fruit of obedience, fruit of holiness before and in the sight of the living and eternal God. With this being said, it’s imperative that we recognize that just as Jerusalem in the midst of Israel, and Israel in the midst of the nations of the earth were both expected to produce and bring forth fruit, so also were we, and so also have we been expected to bear and bring forth fruit. One of the most tragic realities surrounding Jerusalem, surrounding Israel, surrounding the Pharisees, surrounding the religious system and community of Jesus’ day, and even surrounding countless men and women among us during this generation is the expectation and disappointment of bearing and bringing forth fruit, for one of the greatest tragedies of a life is that life which was chosen in Christ to bear and bring forth fruit, and yet it fails to actually produce the fruit that is desired and necessary. With that being said, I invite you to consider the following words which are found concerning the desire and expectation of fruit beyond the city of Jerusalem, and beyond the nation of Israel, and the expectation of fruit within our hearts and lives:
“O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: Therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:7-12).
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringing forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7;13-20).
“Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitful ness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also heareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty’ (Matthew 13:18-23).
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall e done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. IF ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you” (John 15:1-16).
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:16-26).
It is quite obvious from the words which are found within each of these passages of Scripture that we as the people of God have indeed and have in fact been chosen to produce and bring forth much fruit. In fact, it was Jesus Himself who spoke unto His disciples and declared unto them that they were chosen by Him and in Him that they might bring forth and produce much fruit. What’s more, is that it was Jesus Himself who emphatically and boldly declared that it is by our fruit we shall be known—a reality which we must allow to be found within the very depths of our heart and spirit. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the absolutely tremendous reality that just as Jerusalem was planted in the midst of the land of Israel to bear and bring forth fruit, and just as Israel was planted among the nations of the earth to bear and bring forth much fruit, so also have we been called and chosen to bear and bring forth fruit. The Christian life, and that life which professes to be in Christ is that life which must needs produce and bring forth fruit in the midst of the earth, for fruit is one of the greatest testimonies and testaments to our truly being in Christ and of Christ. What’s more, is that we cannot fail to realize that we cannot bear and bring forth fruit without and apart from actually abiding in Christ. Until and unless we are willing to abide in Christ, and even walk in and be led by the Spirit we cannot hope or have any expectation to bear and bring forth any fruit within this life. It is completely and utterly foolish to think that we can bring forth fruit without and apart from truly abiding in Christ, and truly walking in the Spirit, for Christ as the vine, and the Spirit as the life that flows through the vine are the only way we can even hope to bring forth fruit. In the song of the vineyard we find the LORD speaking concerning the vineyard how he looked within and looked upon it to see whether or not it would bear and bring forth fruit, and yet when He would hope to have found fruit, He saw that there was no fruit to be found. In the parable of the fig tree which was planted in the midst of the vineyard we again find the expectation of fruit, and the disappointment of no fruit being found and produced—and even more that after and during three years the fig tree produced no fruit. The fig tree which Jesus saw as He journeyed from Bethany unto Jerusalem had no fruit upon it, and as Jesus approached the fig tree He thought that there might be fruit growing upon it, for He was hungry. Upon coming to the fig tree, however, He found that there was nothing but leaves on the tree—a sight which caused Jesus to curse the fig tree, and thus cause it to wither.
This expectation of bearing and bringing forth fruit is something which we must realize and recognize when reading the song of the vineyard, the parable of the vineyard, and even Jesus’ approaching the fig tree on His way to Jerusalem, for throughout history, and found within Scripture is this expectation of bearing and bringing forth fruit. In the Old Testament it was Israel and Jerusalem that were the main figures in the expectation of bearing and bringing forth fruit, and in the New Testament it was the disciples of Christ and the Church which is the body of the Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Throughout Scripture there has always been an expectation and desire that men might bear and bring forth fruit, and we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly sobering reality, for we have truly and indeed been chosen in Christ that we might bear and bring forth fruit. The underlying question we must ask ourselves is not only whether or not we are abiding in Christ, and whether or not we are walking in the Spirit, but also whether or not we are bearing and bringing forth fruit. If it is by our fruits we are known, then the question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are such which are bearing and bringing forth fruit. What’s more, is that in the parable of the seed and the sower we find it mentioned of bearing fruit some an hundredfold, some sixty fold, and some thirty fold. In addition to the question of whether or not we are bearing and bringing forth fruit in Christ and according to the Spirit, it is absolutely necessary that we ask ourselves just how much fruit we are indeed and are in fact bearing and bringing forth within this life. If you are willing to look over and examine your life, and if you are willing to look at the fruit of the Spirit as is outlined and mentioned by the apostle Paul in the epistle written unto the churches in Galatia—are you one who is not only bearing and bringing forth fruit, but are you one who is bringing forth an abundance of fruit. The apostle Paul wrote that there is no law against bearing and bringing forth fruit, and the questions e must ask ourselves is whether or not we are bearing and bringing forth fruit, and bringing forth fruit in abundance. When others look at us as Jesus looked upon the fig tree upon approaching Jerusalem, do they look for and are they expecting to find fruit, and yet despite their desire and expectation of fruit, they find that no fruit is growing upon our trees? Permit me to ask you a very pointed and powerful question—namely, whether or not your life and the tree of your life is bearing and bringing forth fruit, or whether or not your life is simply absent the presence of fruit within and in the midst of it. Oh that we would truly be honest with ourselves and acknowledge whether or not there is fruit present within our lives and growing upon the tree of our life. Oh that we would be truly honest with ourselves and with the LORD and admit and acknowledge whether or not there is fruit growing upon our tree, and if there is perhaps no fruit growing upon the trees of our lives, then we must be willing to ask ourselves whether we are abiding in the vine, and whether or not we are walking in the Spirit. Oh that we would be a people who recognize the supreme importance of walking in the Spirit and abiding in the vine that we might indeed bear and bring forth much fruit which is pleasing in the sight of the living and eternal God, and a source of life to those who come unto our trees and pick from the fruit which is found thereon.