A useless vine: Ezekiel 15 (11 September 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

We come before you Lord, just as we are: nothing more, nothing less. You made us in your image and loved us into being. So be among us now, just as we are: nothing more, nothing less. We thank you God for this time today. Amen.

Reflect

Daily reflection: Ezekiel 15

In Ezekiel’s next vision, he is shown a useless vine. The wood of this vine is good for nothing if it does not bear fruit, unlike other woods from which many things are made for our use and benefit. This image is comparable to the image of Israel as the vine in Isaiah's Song of the Vineyard (chapter 5). In this prophecy, Ezekiel is explaining that if a vine is useless to start with, it will be even more useless when the fire has burnt it (verse 5).

The vine imagery is important in both the Old and New Testaments since growing vines successfully was key to the Jewish farming economy. It was a well-established occupation for numerous labourers. Anyone who knows about vineyards will know it is not an easy job and is dependent on good soil and good weather. If the weather isn't right there will be nothing to sell at harvest time, leaving a large area of land wasted.

So Ezekiel says that God sees the House of Israel as a useless, faithless vine which has become unfit for growth and flourishing. They have rejected their God and have withered away. God will set his face against them just as the fire will destroy the vine.

By the time we come to John’s Gospel, where John describes Jesus himself as the vine, we are already imbued with a rich tapestry of thought about our relationship to Jesus as the branches on the vine. Without God and his Son we cannot survive, any more than a branch can survive without the vine to which it is attached, and from which it receives its life.

Pray

Pray

Loving Lord, you are the vine and we are the branches. May I never forget my need for you and so never try to live in separation from your will. Amen.

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