Feeling prickly much?
I am not sure what’s wrong with me but my head and heart and soul feel sludgy.
That feeling makes me act prickly. Like I lash out irrationally. I feel like, well like a pumpkin stem. I say that because we recently went to a local pumpkin patch and bought some pumpkins. Pumpkins are smooth skinned and they look jolly and happy even before a smile is drawn on them and yet when I picked them up by the stem My hand was poked full of little holes by the pokey thistle shaped spikes on the stem.
Later in the day, I read this in Isaiah. It gives me hope while I weather through this prickly season of my heart.
“In that day, sing about the fruitful vineyard. I, the Lord, will watch over it, watering it carefully. Day and night I will watch so no one can harm it. My anger will be gone. If I find briers and thorns growing, I will attack them; I will burn them up— unless they turn to me for help. Let them make peace with me; yes, let them make peace with me.” The time is coming when Jacob’s descendants will take root. Israel will bud and blossom and fill the whole earth with fruit!
Isaiah 27:2-6 – NLT
God said he will burn up briers. God will burn up the prickly. UNLESS. Unless they turn to him for help. Is Isaiah just talking about weeds in a garden or is he using a metaphor and talking about people, contrasting fruitful people with those people who are parasites, who are antagonistic prickly people who detract and distract from the fruitful?
We recently spent time at the Oregon coast. It is beautiful there. The variety of plants and trees is amazing! One constant in all the flora is the black berry brier. They seemed to grow everywhere. We saw several abandoned properties that were being enveloped in briers. The black berry it a sweet delicious fruit but the vines are spiked with thorns and they can envelope and reclaim the ground from houses and barns and vehicles.
God talks about planting a vineyard. Grapes are a vining plant. Blackberries briers are a similar vining plant however grape vines don’t have thorns. I have never seen a domesticated black berry patch. I suppose it’s possible to control them but they seem to want to spread and take over wherever they grow. No matter where they are, they have long prickly thorns. Those of us who would eat of their fruit will be scratched and torn in the process.
Their thorns make it difficult to harvest the berries.
Jesus used many different farming analogies; if we are the sheep, he is the good shepherd, if we are the wheat, he is the farmer, if we are the grape branches, Jesus is the vine and God the Father is the vine dresser.
I’ve just done an internet search for domesticating blackberry briers. I read several, They all say to start by cutting out the dead wood, cut the vines back to 5 feet, and strap them to a post.
Jesus used the vine/branch/vinedresser analogy in John 15.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
John 15:1-8 – NLT
If we are following Jesus we need to to be connected to him in a way similar to a grape vine and a branch. We need to receive our life source from Jesus. If we aren’t producing God will prune us so we can be. I read somewhere that a vine dresser will cut back the vine to the second budding branch, No room for superfluence.
Well, I woke up this morning in God’s vineyard, looked around at all the grapevines around me, looked down at myself and realized that I am a blackberry bush. What Am I to do? What will God do about me being a blackberry in the middle of his grapevines?
“If I find briers and thorns growing, I will attack them; I will burn them up— unless they turn to me for help. Let them make peace with me; yes, let them make peace with me.”
This morning I am turning my prickly self over to God for help. We will see what he can do with prickly me.