“…Your faithful love is better than life.” Do you see God’s love for you that way? Greater than life. This is similar to Jesus’ words about surrendering one’s life to the cross (Luke 14:25–27). David’s psalm is full of love of and for God. It is full of trust. This how God’s love is indeed better than life: trust.
Yet, all too often people look at God’s love not all that great. Isaiah’s Song of the Vineyard talks about how people have despised what God had done preparing the Promised Land for the people of Israel. What more could God have done? What so many people often seem to want God to do…make them. God, being God, does not make us (or the Israelites) follow, obey, or love him. Instead, God tears down his work. If they despise his gifts, why should they have them at all? Of course, the goal is not destruction or pain, but it is to learn what they have lost.
In many ways, God sought to prune Israel and Judah of what turned them from God…pride. When Jesus turns to trees, instead of vineyards, the truth is the same. A tree, to produce more fruit, will be pruned. However, Jesus sets this as an all or nothing. Jesus says that a tree (person) produces either good or bad fruit. We all produce good and bad fruit, it would seem.
1) As we look at the Song of the Vineyard, what insights does it provide you in regards to the parable of the good tree and the bad tree?
2) Often we are more aware of the bad in our lives than the good. Can you see in your life where God has “built” your vineyard? What are the signs?
3) People want freedom, and yet often want people someone to “make them” do the right thing, just like the Israelites and Jews. Why do you think people are like this? Where do you see this behavior in your life?