Isaiah 65:8-9 - Thus says the Lord: "As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, 'Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,' so I will do for My servants' sake, and not destroy them all. I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and from Judah possessors of My mountains; My chosen shall possess it, and My servants shall dwell there."
I grow grapes in my backyard. While the vine itself is doing great, the grape clusters haven't turned out so well. Grapes can develop fungal or bacterial diseases. In our case, the problem is birds—birds and squirrels. A bunch of grapes that was full and heavy with fruit yesterday often has nothing left but stems when I check it in the morning.
The people of Isaiah's day had problems like this, too. Isaiah describes a grape harvester who comes across a disappointing cluster. As he goes to toss it away, another man stops him. "Don't throw it out," he says. "There are still a few good grapes in there. Keep those." Then they will add them to the pile and use them to make wine.
This kind of thing might be strange to some of us, since we live in a throw-away culture. Many people don't have the patience to sort through a bunch of grapes and pick out the good ones. They'd rather toss the whole bunch and go find another without any problems.
But God is not like this. In this passage, He is using the grape cluster to describe His people. Although most of them are faithless and spiritually rotten, there are still a few hidden in the bunch that He sees value in. He will pick them out and use them to make new wine.
"Well, that's fine," we may think, "but I know my faults. If I'm a grape, I'm not in the high-quality category. Why would God want me?" It's a sensible question if we are thinking only about ourselves and our own human nature, which is flawed and infected with evil. But that's not how God sees us.
Jesus describes us this way: "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 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 15:1-5).
It doesn't matter what we are in ourselves. Now that the Holy Spirit has brought us to faith in Jesus, we are His grapes, clusters on His vine. We share in the everlasting life Jesus won for us by His suffering, death, and resurrection. His life and goodness flow through us. Now we are good fruit, valuable fruit—because we are His.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for making me a part of Your vine. Let Your new life flow through me and make me fruitful for You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Are you a "toss out the baby with the bathwater" or "see what you can salvage" kind of person?
2. What does it mean that the Father will prune the branches that bear no fruit?
3. How do we "abide" in Jesus?
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