He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. Isaiah 5:2
When someone plants a garden they expect to get something good out of it. They work the ground to ensure it has the right nutrients. Seeds are planted during the best part of the season to ensure good growth. They strive to provide the right amount of water for the plants to grow.
Later when the harvest season comes, the farmer expects to get the fruit or vegetables in great amounts that were planted. However, there are times when the plants yield nothing or only bad fruit.
Isaiah paints of picture of God planting a vineyard with the best of vines. When it came time for harvest, all that was produced was bad grapes of no value.
The vineyard that Isaiah talks about is very specifically the nation of Israel. Yet, this can be looked at with all believers. God is still in the process of building a vineyard of believers upon this earth. He is growing a large body of believers to follow Him.
Just as the farmer expects to get some good fruit and God expected Israel to produce fruit, He expects the believer to produce fruit.
All too often believers are like Israel was, producing no fruit. They claim to believe in Jesus, read the bible, go to church, but never produce any fruit. Their lives never really change. They live purposefully in sin refusing to change. They are never a witness of who Jesus is. They do not show God’s love in their lives.
Looking at some of the people, one will only see the world, not Jesus.
You, as a believer, are expected by God to produce some fruit. He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you and give you strength to do what needs to be done. However, it is up to you to do it.
Be willing to be His witness. Show His love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace to others. Build others up in Jesus.
Your life should be one that looks like the life of Jesus. Work to live like Jesus as though your salvation depended upon it, but trust what Jesus did for your salvation. Produce the fruit in believing and following Jesus.
I pray today that you will know the salvation Jesus provides; that God will see His fruit in your life; that the world will see Jesus in you; that you will allow God’s Holy Spirit to guide you; and that many will know Jesus because of your life.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
The fastest reaction that people have to what someone else says or does is with their words. People are quick to answer someone’s words or actions.
When the words or actions are harmful and offensive, the reaction is often spoken with harsh, condemning words. Retaliation is quick and swift in the attempt to strike back and make the person pay. Anger rises up and gets the best of a person.
Responding in this way, only causes the first person to respond with even more harsh and condemning words. This is what causes many fight and keeps many battles moving forward, rather than being solved.
Solomon realizes that a soft answer will keep anger at bay and calm a person down. Harsh words will only get a person more angry.
Harsh words are easy to speak and often are the first things that come out of a person. Believers are often quick to use harsh words under the disguise of trying to help the person see the error of their ways. Christians are often quick to condemn the sin in another person with harsh words, rather than showing true love.
The only time Jesus used harsh words was with the religious leaders who should have known better. With those who were lost in sin and did not know God in any way, He spoke with gentle words of love and kindness.
When words of condemnation and hate are spoken to unbelievers or even to other believers, it will raise up their anger. It will make a wrong even more wrong, causing greater battles and injury.
There is nothing harsh in the words of love, mercy and grace. Those are words that reach out to touch a person for God, revealing God’s true character.
As you go along in life there will be times when you will be hurt by someone or see someone steeped in sin. How you respond to that person will reveal the character of God. Your words can either draw the person towards God or push them away.
Harsh, condemning words will push them away and cause their anger to rise up against you and God. Soft and gentle, but firm words will calm them down and draw them towards Jesus.
How are your words causing others to act? Are they stirring up anger or are they drawing them towards God and diffusing the anger?
I pray today that you will know the love of God; that God will give you the words to speak; that you will speak out of the love God has for you and for others; and that your words will be the words of God to build up rather than tear down and destroy.
Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult. Proverbs 12:16
Getting offended is something that occurs to a lot of a people on a regular basis. Someone says or does something and someone else is offended at it. They do not like what someone else is saying or doing.
Very quickly people take offense and start fighting back. The fight back can be with words or actions. Rarely does a person take a step back and consider what was said, who said it or why it was said. They do not give the other person a chance.
Many relationships have been broken up because of one wrong word that was spoken and offense was taken.
This verse reveals that it is only fools who show annoyance immediately to an offense. The wise and prudent are quick to overlook it and move on.
While the world is known for taking offense against others, so are many in the church. Believers take offense to other believers and to those outside the church.
Those who overlook an insult are being wise. They realize immediately how little that insult really is in sight of the big picture. The insult took only a few seconds to say and is over. Eternity lasts for ever. Just life on this earth lasts a lot longer than that short insult.
Taking offense to an insult is something that often lasts for years. It wastes time and energy being angry about it or retaliating against it.
Jesus said that the believer is to turn the other cheek when someone strikes. Insults are a verbal strike against someone, so the believer must turn the other cheek. It does no good to take offense to it and fight back. It breaks down the chance to be a witness of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness.
There will be a time when someone will offend you, if it has not already occurred. Before you get offended, take a step back and see what Jesus has done for you. You had offended God when you sinned against Him, yet, He still loved you and made a way for you.
Keep your eyes on Jesus and eternity. The small thing of that offense will become even smaller. It has no real meaning in light of eternity.
Do not allow yourself to be offended, but instead love and pray for those who offend and are enemies.
I pray today that you will know the love of God for you and for others; that you will know God’s mercy upon all people; that your eyes will be focused upon God and eternity; and that God will give you His peace when someone offends you.