A devotional article to encourage you!
Have you ever seen an orchard of fruit trees? Living in the south, I can take a drive of about 30 minutes and come upon groves of peach trees. In their season, the boughs will be filled with luscious fruit, ready to be harvested for consumers to enjoy!
How many times have you feasted on peach cobbler, with melting vanilla ice cream running down its sides? Or made homemade peach ice cream, adding whipped topping for extra delight?
I remember many years ago as a child when on hot, summer evenings, we gathered family together for homemade ice cream. The old metal churn quickly became cold, but I loved sitting on top of it anyway, as Daddy turned the crank – over and over.
Mama and Daddy had filled the outer container with rock salt and ice, loading the inner metal canister with all the ice cream fixings – and loads of peach slices!
My “job” (or so I thought) was to ...
sit on top of the churn, as Daddy cranked it, until the contents were set.
Then he pulled up the pail from the icy salts, removed the lid, and scooped out some of the best eatin’ in the world!
This delectable family treat resulted from local farmers who cultivated fruitful groves of trees, filled with the luscious, fuzzy fruits! Each summer, we drove to the nearby farms or fruit
stands and bought bushels of peaches to refresh us with delightful treats on those sizzling days and nights of summer. Peach cobbler, peach pies, and homemade peach ice cream – how yummy are the memories!
On this Labor Day, my reading in Isaiah 32 brought delight as the Lord impressed upon me the importance of fruitfulness for Him. Reading through that chapter, I was drawn to focus on verse 15, “Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest.” (NKJV)
To understand the beauty of this verse, let’s consider its context first. Though I’m not an expert on Hebrew prophetic interpretation, I’d like to offer these thoughts. First, the beginning of this chapter gives us information about the coming Reign of Messiah on earth, when He will rule with righteousness and all wrongs will be righted. Isaiah includes a warning in this chapter against being “at ease in Zion”, or becoming careless and clinging to comfortableness in this life. God prescribes certain consequences of such undesirable behavior, and yet gives us this ending promise in verse 15 of better days ahead, when His Holy Spirit brings positive change.
Verse 15 speaks of the Holy Spirit being “poured out” or “emptied” upon the dry, parched land considered a wilderness. And yet, when God’s Spirit pours forth onto that wilderness, the result is to transform that very wilderness land into a “fruitful field”, which becomes so abundant and massive, it’s deemed to be a “forest.”
Fruitfulness is the evident result of the Holy Spirit’s work here. The “fruitful field” speaks of a garden or orchard, abounding with fruit on its boughs throughout, or a productive vineyard yielding significant harvest. The abundance of this bountiful grove is so massive, it is deemed to be a forest, thick with trees.
Wow, what beauty and bounty emerges once the Holy Spirit has been poured upon this dry patch of dirt. This gives us hope for our lives, and what God intends for us to become, even though we may seem to be in a dry, wilderness season of life.
Jesus spoke in John 15 of fruitfulness, as did other New Testament writers. In John 15 verse 8 and 16, Jesus says, “By this, My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples…You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain,…” (NKJV)
God desires for each of His children to produce luscious fruit, which can then carry His essence, love, and mercy to hungry souls worldwide, providing nourishment for them in eternal ways. Similarly to the peaches that we enjoyed on those hot, summer evenings.
God’s Word tells us of God’s amazing love and redemption for all people, and how much He longs to bless people with His truth. When we “abide in the Vine” of Jesus (see John 15), then the Holy Spirit pours upon us and we can then bear such abundant fruit that pleases God and draws others to Him.
The Bible also tells us what kind of fruit we should bear: the Fruit of the Spirit, found in Galatians 5:22-23. Notice that, even in the natural, fruit organically occurs in a tree or vine, based entirely upon the health and life of that plant. In other words, if the vine AND its branches are all connected and healthy, the fruit harvest will come naturally. It’s not contrived. It’s not forced. It’s not through fierce effort. It becomes a natural outgrowth of the relationship between the “branches” and the “vine”.
From this simple, natural example, John 15:5 makes plain sense, when the Lord said, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing…” (NKJV)
By simply abiding in Him in a healthy, vibrant, lively relationship with Him, a harvest of “much fruit" abounds, bringing Him great glory and great pleasure.
May God grant us that we, too, abide in a loving relationship with Jesus so much that it naturally produces abundant fruitfulness of eternal value. May this fruitfulness be so rich and massive, it becomes deemed to be a grove of bountiful trees, filled with aromatic fruit just waiting for the pickin’!
And may the fruit we bear bring others eternal nourishment and delight, just like that old hand-cranked churn took those luscious peaches and brought us cold treats on steamy days of summer.