Page 16 - November 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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“      or the LORD taketh pleasure in his   tree being linked to sweetness can also be
             people” (Psa 149:4).  Between the
                                              what helps us in our study. His summary
        FHallelujah bookends of a Psalm       instructive, but what is said of the vine is
        exhorting the Lord’s people to praise and   of the creeping plant implies that, in that
        worship stand these words that could   era, the vine was commonly known for
        easily be overlooked. While further con-  bringing cheer to God and man. And so
        sideration highlights their sweetness to   we have pictured in the fruit of the vine
        us practically, there is an actual theologi-  that which rejoices the heart of God (v13).
        cal significance to this phrase that can be   Metaphorically, different trees in the
        traced throughout the Scriptures, giving   Scriptures illustrate the nation of Israel as
        us insight into God’s purpose for creating   they compare and contrast to the Gentiles.
        and communicating with mankind: God   The olive tree, producing oil for lamps,
        delights in His people.               becomes a picture of Israel in testimony
          While the beginning of our Bible may   to those in darkness around them. The
        only vaguely reference this theme (Gen   fig tree could be said to symbolize Israel
        1:31), the book of Revelation is more   politically among the nations. But the vine
        direct: “For thou hast created all things,   displays Israel in obedience and worship,
        and for thy pleasure they are and were   bringing God joy in contrast to the lawless
        created” (4:11). Ultimately and eternally,   and idolatrous heathen.
        God’s creation was designed to bring Him   Isaiah chapter 5 sings for us the song
        holy joy.                             of the vineyard, giving us a glimpse of a
          But how is this relevant to our Lord’s   gardener’s labour and purpose. He selects
        statement, “I AM the true vine” (Joh 15:1)?   a fertile location, provides a barrier of
        In what way does the Bible connect a glad   protection, removes all of the stones and
        heart to a vine? For this, we need only   plants a choice, noble vine. After build-
        look at Jotham’s parable in the book of   ing a tower and making a winepress, he
        Judges (9:7-15). When rebuking the men   then looks to harvest sweet red grapes.
        of Shechem’s selection of Abimelech as   The analogy focuses on the owner’s dis-
        king, Jotham’s words about the character   appointment in the vineyard, for rather
        of the trees are enlightening. In arguing   than receiving the tender fruit he sought,
        that they had chosen the most volatile and   he found the bitter “wild grape” sour and
        least suitable ruler, he likens Abimelech to   worthless (Isa 5:1-7).
        the thorn bush, whose leadership would   The interpretation is then made clear.
        be contentious and eventually devour   The people of Israel/Judah were that
        them. The teaching about the olive tree   choice and pleasant vine, and God pro-
        being connected with fatness and the fig   vided every condition necessary for a
        ¹ Bible quotations in this article are from the   productive vineyard. The location (Ca-
        KJV.                                  ² From the teachings of A.M.S. Gooding.

        336 TRUTH kTidings   November  2023
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