“He has laid my vine waste, and stripped my fig tree. He has stripped its bark, and thrown it away. Its branches are made white.”
The Lord likens His people to a vine. Jesus also refers to us as the branches of the vine, as he is the true vine. Those who trust in Him are branches attached to the true vine and are alive and safe in His sustaining care. The people of God in Joel’s day had gone away from the Lord and were suffering under the chastising hand of the Lord. The Lord says that these oppressors of His people have cause them a lot of trouble and have laid them waste and stripped them bare. It is a picture that reminds us of the work of the locusts who have destroyed the land and now the effects of this are destroying the spiritual fabric in the lives of the people who are suffering. They are like branches that have been stripped of all foliage and are suffering the ravages of troubles.
Often the physical suffering that we experience has an effect on our spiritual lives for good or for ill. We either react in faith or in resentment. Those who are familiar with the love of God will know His comfort and strength and will see the value of the troubles and be able to be thankful for them. However at this time, the vine of life is laid waste and the fig tree is stripped of its luscious foliage and fruit. The bark of the covering of life is striped way and the bare flesh is revealed. The branches have become unprofitable and there is need of deep renewal and a fresh lease of life for them. The people of God are decimated because of their disobedience and lack of spiritual regard, and God has laid them bare to the ravages of the army of the locusts. They are truly destroyed by famine and war and are unprofitable servants.
Still, there is hope, for the Lord will not lift His hand against His people forever. He is able to restore them and show love and life to them. Even the most terrible devastation to the land by the locusts can be renewed. The Lord will again restore them, through their repentance and a turning back to Him. When we suffer the pains of our sin and folly, even as Christian believers, we will be renewed in Christ and He will enable us to stand up under the trouble. We must seek the Lord and examine our thought patterns and behaviour that we will be renewed and bear fruit again for Him.
“No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
God will again renew His vine and the fig tree will again bear fruit and flourish. Let us not be unprofitable and ruin our life with God by staying away from Him. Let us learn our lessons and have the faith to move on with the Lord, in the full armour of salvation.
“Therefore put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”