Ezekiel 15:6 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: As I have given the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest as fuel for the fire, so will I treat the people living in Jerusalem.”
Throughout Scripture, wine, the fruit of the vine, is used as a symbol of the life and joy with which God longs to bless his people. When Moses sent 12 men into Canaan soon after God had delivered them from Egypt to see just how good this ‘promised land’ was, they came back with a single cluster of grapes so large that it required two of them to carry it (Numbers 13:23)! In Psalm 4:7 we read: “You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound” (cf Jeremiah 31:12).
In the New Testament, John records Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine as a ‘sign’ of the new life the Saviour had come to bring to lifeless Rabbinic Judaism (John 2:1-11). Israel was intended to be the means by which God would bless all the nations, and so they were referred to as his ‘vine’ or his ‘vineyard’ (eg Isaiah 5:7; cf Jesus’ parable of the workers in the vineyard recorded in all three Synoptic Gospels -Matthew 21:33-45, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19 – which the Jewish rulers clearly understood as referring to them).
Jesus also referred to himself as the True Vine through whom those who are ‘grafted into him’ would bear fruit for the Father, and the unproductive ‘branches’ who are not would be ‘thrown into the fire and burned’ (John 15:1-8). This is picking up on Ezekiel’s point in Chapter 15. It is only a short chapter but it makes a very important point for God’s Covenant People in every age!
In the next chapter, Ezekiel delivers the LORD’s condemnation in very stark terms, likening the Covenant People’s idolatry to spiritual prostitution and adultery. Vines are only useful for bearing grapes. Unlike other trees whose wood might serve many other useful purposes, if vines don’t bear grapes they are good for nothing but the fire!
The question for us is, in the light of Ezekiel’s warning and Jesus’ application of it, are we ‘vine branches’ that are truly grafted into Christ and bearing fruit that validates our connection?
– Bruce Christian