09 September 2013

The Introduction

Isaiah 5:1-6 KJV 
"Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill. And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, And planted it with the choicest vine, And built a tower in the midst of it, And also made a winepress therein: And he looked that it should bring forth grapes, And it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, Judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, That I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, Brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to, I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; And break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: It shall not be pruned, nor digged; But there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it."

This story was told at a conference I went to for young women who felt some type of calling in ministry. This verse changed my whole perspective and my purpose is for yours to be changed as I retell this story. The man in Isaiah watched over his vineyard day and night. He built a tower to make sure nothing harmed his vineyard. He planted it with "the choicest vine" and expected it to bring forth the tastiest grapes imaginable! Later, when he tasted one of the grapes it was bitter ("wild grapes"). That is when he began to question his motives.

What more could I have done to my vineyard that I haven't already done?

This is the question that can play out in our lives. We do the absolute best we can and we try to make the best decisions. We do everything our way. Re-read that last sentence. Our way. That is where our story takes a turn. We have expectations for our grapes to prosper but we don't realize that they've turned bitter overnight. When we've done all that we can do and when we've exhausted all of our choices, that is when we take a step back and let God take over.

But the story of the vineyard doesn't end with the bitter grapes! The man continues on with what he is going to do to fix his problem. In verse 5 and 6 he says that he will take away the hedge and break down the walls so that it can be walked upon and he will let it waste away. Sounds awful right? Why would someone who worked so hard at creating the perfect vineyard just tear it all apart? The answer is simple. He wanted it to be destroyed so that it could be made new.

At the conference it was said, "The greatest compliment to a grape is to be crushed and made into a new wine." The same goes for us. The greatest compliment to humans is for us to be crushed and then refined by the merciful hand of God. Where we see failure, God sees a place where we can be great. Where we see the heartbreak of an ending, God sees the start of a humble beginning.

This is the story behind my blog, "Refining the Wild Grapes." We all have those wild grapes in our lives whether it be loneliness, hatred, anger, envy, telling a lie, feeling hopeless, depression, impurity and the list can go on and on. The beauty of it all is that we have the opportunity to be made new, to be refined. Don't be afraid of this process but embrace it because God intended it all for good {Genesis 50:20}. When we realize that everything He takes us through is just so we can know Him better, the trials don't seem as bad. 
So, come and experience these teachable moments with me and allow God to refine your wild grapes!

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