How great is our God!

Hello there,

I have been enjoying sitting in the garden, and watched my husband watering a straggly looking bell flower that had been strangled by grasses which had seeded from seeds dropped from the birdfeeder. He had dug it out of the bed and planted it in a pot, though it consisted only of stalks and a few small leaves. I would probably have thrown it away!

Yet, how like our Heavenly Father that is, isn't it? For He is our Gardener and we are His workmanship. He tends and cares for us, regardless of the lack of fruit we bare. Which makes me think of Matt. 12:20, 'A bruised reed will He not break ....' .

I notice that this is a quotation from Isaiah 42:3. Oh, do look at it! It is so lovely, for it speaks of Israel's Messiah, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ - (Isa 42:1-8)

"'Behold My Servant, whom I uphold;
Mine Elect, in Whom My soul delighteth;
I have put My Spirit upon Him:
He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
He shall not cry, nor lift up,
nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed shall He not break,
and the smoking flax shall He not quench:
He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
He shall not fail nor be discouraged,
till He have set judgment in the earth:
and the isles shall wait for His law."
Thus saith God the LORD,
He that created the heavens, and stretched them out;
He that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it;
He that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
"I the LORD have called Thee in righteousness,
and will hold Thine hand, and will keep Thee,
and give thee for a covenant of the people,
for a light of the Gentiles;
To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison,
and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
I am the LORD: that is My Name:
and My glory will I not give to another,
neither My Praise to graven images. ..."'

Praise God!

In Christ Jesus
Again, while sitting in the garden I looked up a passage from Scripture which came to my mind the other morning, while preparing my breakfast. I was putting grapes on top of my bran-flakes, and they were very large grapes, the largest I had seen, and into my mind came the words, 'the grapes of Eshcol'. I was not able to look it up at the time, but this morning I took the time to look it up.

It is found in Numbers 13:23, in the record of the sending out of the 12 spies from among the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, to spy out the land of Canaan. They were told by God, through Moses, to (1) 'be of good courage', and (2) to bring back samples of the fruit of the land. Only two proved themselves to be 'of good courage' based on the promise of God that He would give them the land (v.2). However they did bring the fruit of the land, which consisted of one 'cluster' of grapes, which was suspended upon a staff held by two men, such was it's weight! Also, Pomegranates, and figs. Verse 23 is broken up by the word, 'and', which calls upon us to pay attention to each point separately:-

- 'And they came unto the brook of Eshcol'. (called Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes, Eshcol meaning 'cluster', 'brook' = 'valley'.
- 'And cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes'. (the cluster of grapes being symbolic of Christ as the true vine)
- 'And they bare it between two upon a staff', (showing the abundance of it's fruitfulness - 'Praise God!')
- 'And they brought of pomegranates' (a symbol of His worship, used symbolically in both the tabernacle and the temple, [Ex. 27-29; 2 Chron.3-4])
- 'And of the figs' (symbolizing the common duties of life - grapes and pomegranates its luxuries and spiritual privileges)

The spies were sent out for 40 days, which is the number of probation. this thought takes my mind to Matthew 4 again, and the temptations of our Lord which I have been looking at recently, Who was also tried for 40 days and nights. This was a trial of faith as much as a reconnaissance mission, wasn't it? In the verses that follow we can read of the report made by the spies, the faith filled report of Joshua and Caleb, and the awful consequence of the unbelief of the nine and their influence on the people in chapter 14.

They showed the bounty of the land and spoke of a land flowing with milk and honey and then in verse 28, beginning with the word, 'Nevertheless', proceeded to give a description of the many inhabitants, the walled cities and the giants in the land, concluding with the words, 'They are stronger than we'. This was an 'evil report', a 'slander', which took no account of God's promise that He would give them the land. They had not looked through the eyes of faith, but instead expressed their fears and doubts, how important it is that we should walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Their report caused the people to follow them into fear and doubt and resulted in the people of Israel having to wander in the wilderness for a further forty years, until that generation of unbelief had died. This makes me think of Hebrews 12:13-15, and the influence our lives can have upon others:-

'And make straight paths for your feet,
lest that which is lame be turned out of the way;
but let it rather be healed.
Follow peace with all men,
and holiness,
without which no man shall see the Lord:
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God;
lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you,
and thereby many be defiled;'

* Sobering thought!

'Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace,
and things wherewith one may edify another.'
(Rom 14:19)

'For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.'

(2 Corinthians 13:8)

Note: I have seen this last verse quoted on forum threads several times, yet, this statement, left like this with no context surrounding it, can surely be used by anyone in any way they like. It needs to be contextualized and hedged around a little. Paul could say this with truth, as an 'Apostle': one chosen by God for that purpose. He as a messenger of Christ, could do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. That is not so for many - who claim to speak in His Name!

In Christ Jesus
We do the works as a result of our changed nature of being born again. The works are as natural as grapes growing on the branch because it is attached to the vine. The branch can't help but produce. Any other works than that are fleshly and will be burned up.