The PARABLE of the FRUITLESS GRAPEVINE
August 30 Bible Reading: Ezekiel Chapters 13-15
"Therefore thus says the Lord God: 'Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will set My face against them. They will go out from one fire, but another fire shall devour them. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I set My face against them. Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,' says the Lord God." (Ezek 15:6-8)
Ezekiel chapter 15 is an allegory picturing Israel as God’s grapevine that is no longer bearing fruit. The essential use of grapevine is to bear fruit (Psalms 80:8–16; Ezek. 19:10–14; Hosea 10:1). Since a grapevine is not good for wood or building (vv. 2, 3), once it has ceased to bear fruit, it can only be cast into the fire (v. 4). The point was clear: the nation of Israel had ceased to bear the fruit of righteousness and was therefore destined for judgment. Both Isaiah (Isa. 5:1-7) and Jeremiah (Jer. 2:21) spoke of Israel’s failure to produce proper fruit; however Ezekiel spoke of the total uselessness of Israel (v. 5).
Israel was thus like a charred and fruitless vine. It was not serving the Lord or bringing glory to Him. As the vine with charred ends, it had suffered burning (chastisement and judgment) on previous occasions. The northern end of the branch was charred by the Assyrians. The southern end was charred by the Egyptians. And now the middle – Jerusalem - would be charred by the Babylonians (see 2 Kings 25:9). The second fire of verse 7 pictures the captivity of those who escaped. They would now be given up to complete destruction because of their continued fruitlessness (v. 8).
As believers we have high privileges, but also the responsibility to produce fruit for God’s glory. If we don't glorify Him with our life, our existence is vain and useless. It is like the vine without fruit, and our testimony will be destroyed. As branches in Christ, the True Vine, our chief function is to bear fruit for God. This would include the development of Christian character in our lives as seen in the fruit of the Spirit. However if we do not bear fruit, our existence is useless, and that was the condition of God’s people in Ezekiel’s day. Instead, if we share the life of God through faith in Jesus Christ, our lives will reveal itself in the fruit that we bear for His glory.