pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Good Fruit

Reading: Isaiah 5: 3-7

Verse 4: “What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it”?

Today we see the outcome of all the love and care that was poured into the vineyard. The yielding of bad fruit draws a passionate response from the gardener. The gardener wistfully says, “What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it”? When one considers all of God’s love and care and patience and guidance poured into Israel, one can begin to understand God’s pain and heartache and even a little anger. All parents experience this process, but usually on a much smaller scale. We raise our children as best we can and they still make poor decisions and bad choices now and then in spite of our best efforts.

God’s response to the vineyard Israel is to tear down the hedge and wall and to allow thorns to infest the ground. God even withholds the rain. God is stepping back from the relationship. God is not abandoning Israel, but is allowing them to experience the consequences of their decisions and choices. The injustice and bloodshed will not have good outcomes; the unanswered cries of distress will go on. All of this pains God deeply. Stepping back is a loving and merciful response. It is the response of a God who loves the people deeply.

I imagine that as God looks down on the world today, there is much that is painful to see. I imagine that God frequently asks the same “what more can I do” question. And then God sees the good fruit, the kind and loving followers of Jesus, working to bring light and love out into the world. God sees believers seeking to love God and to love neighbor. Yes, there are images of God sharing God’s love and care and compassion and mercy and justice with a world in need. Won’t you be one of them today?

Prayer: Loving God, lead me to love like Jesus today. Help me to be compassion and mercy and grace lived out. May it be so for me today and every day. Amen.

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Promise = Hope

Reading: Isaiah 65: 21-25

In the new kingdom, all will be blessed.  The works of the peoples’ hands will bring enjoyment.  The homes they build and the crops they plant will be enjoyed.  Nothing will be done in vain.  Even before their prayers are spoken, God will hear and answer them.  Life will be wonderful when the earth is renewed by God.  The renewing will affect all things.  Even the wolf and the lamb will lie down together!  There will be absolute peace and all will be blessed by God Almighty.  We long for the day!

The promise and hope in these words from Isaiah were just what the Israelites needed to hear.  Times were very bleak and it was an easy time to begin to lose faith in God.  Nothing in life seemed to be favoring the chosen people.  While the people knew their situation was the consequence of their sins, at some point we all say, “How long”?

We too have uttered this question to God.  Like the Israelites, we may have wandered from our faith and there is a consequence that we must endure for our choices.  Often we too get to the point of longing to return to ‘normal’ in our lives.  At other times in life, our time of suffering is not caused by us.  We can be adversely affected by another’s sin or choices.  We can also be affected by the circumstances of life – a diagnosis or sudden loss comes our way and we suffer and experience pain.  In all of these scenarios, we long to move past and to come to terms with our hurt or loss, but it can be so hard.

The promise of a new heaven and earth cannot remove the hurt or pain or suffering.  But it can give us a new sense of hope.  In this promise we can find hope and strength and comfort and maybe even a little healing.  One day all will be restored.  May we cling to this hope.  The promise is true!