Psalm 80:8, 12, 14-15 - You brought a vine out of Egypt; You drove out the nations and planted it. ... Why then have You broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruits? ... Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, the stock that Your right hand planted, and for the son whom You made strong for Yourself.
Israel was the vine brought out of Egypt and planted by God in the Promised Land. He set His people free from slavery and called them to obey the covenant He made with them. They would be His "treasured possession among all peoples ... a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." The people responded, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do" (see Exodus 19:5-6, 8). But the Israelites did not keep their word; the covenant was broken. Forsaking the God who had saved them and called them to be His own people, they turned to worship the false gods of the surrounding nations. As a result of their unfaithfulness, God allowed Israel to be conquered by foreign nations, like a vineyard with broken down walls, its fruit free for the taking by those who pass by.
The psalmist prays for Israel, that God would turn from His wrath and have mercy on His precious vine, the vine that He planted and carefully tended. The psalmist prays that God would once again regard Israel as the strong son He had once called out of Egypt (see Hosea 11:1). Centuries later, God in His mercy would call another Son out of Egypt, His only-begotten Son. Mary and Joseph had taken the Holy Child Jesus and fled to Egypt to escape from the murderous wrath of King Herod. Called out of Egypt when it was safe to return, Jesus was the Son whom God made strong for Himself, the Son who did what Israel would not do. Jesus was the Son who lived in perfect obedience to His Father, "obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:8b).
On the night before He died, Jesus told His disciples, "I am the true vine" (John 15:1b). The new covenant, a covenant of God's steadfast love and forgiveness, was sealed in the blood of His faithful Son. By faith we are united to Jesus, our true vine. Abiding in Him, we bear the fruit of love and good works and so bring glory to our Heavenly Father. God in grace creates us anew as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9b). We are the sons and daughters God has made strong for Himself, called to proclaim the glory of the God who saved us and set us free.
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, help me to grow in faith, united to Jesus, the true vine. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Have you ever helped someone only to be shunned by them later for some reason? How did that feel?
2. Why would Israel turn toward idols when they believed God had led them out of Egypt? Do we ever act the same way?
3. What are three things you can do to stay close to Jesus, the true Vine?
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