The Wednesday evening homegroup is currently studying the book of Hosea and I was particularly struck last week by the first part of chapter 9 verse 10: “When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert”. Discovering grapes in such an arid location is clearly unusual and God is here expressing His joy, His delight in His people Israel. Sadly, however, such joy and delight was short-lived – Israel became spiritually fruitless as they pursued the idolatry and immorality of the surrounding nations. In the same chapter, verse 16, God sadly declares “Ephraim [i.e. Israel] is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit”.
The obvious challenge to us today is to seek to be fruitful branches of the Lord’s vine (John 15v1) in the midst of a spiritually dry surrounding culture. To do this we must abide / remain in the vine, the Lord.
In this season of Lent reference is often made to the Lord’s temptations in the (dry) wilderness. We noted at last week’s Elders and Deacons meeting that to overcome the three temptations, Jesus fruitfully trusted, in turn, in His Father’s provision, protection and pre-eminence. As we seek, in faith, to follow in His footsteps may we also be like grapes in the desert, a joy and a delight to the Lord.
To help us abide / remain in the vine we have purchased a number of ‘Lent for Everyone’ books written by Tom Wright containing daily readings and comments on Matthew’s Gospel and will be distributing these on Sunday morning. Please ask for a copy!
Peace and Grace