God’s Unchanging Nature
We live in a world that is “changeable.” In fact within the past 17 years the Canadian supreme court has “flip-flopped” regarding its position on religious freedoms for private institutions. This reversal in how the Canadian Charter of Rights has been interpreted is very worrisome to those who value their religious freedom, and their role in Canadian society. But even in a changing world, there is one thing that does not change, and that is God. He has a message for all people, for he has the insight and the power to “declare the end from the beginning.” And one thing is certain. He is just and fair, and there is no “respect of persons” with God.
A Warning to the “Hard-hearted”
God eloquently portrays his people as a well-cultivated vineyard. He had planted and protected them, and was expecting an abundant harvest — the fruit of righteous living. But through this metaphor he reveals his displeasure at finding bitter fruit instead of the luscious grapes he had anticipated. God laments that he had given the people every possible benefit, but they had not obeyed God. They had forgotten God and hard-heartedly embraced injustice, corruption, and oppression. God’s response was to “break down” the protective walls he had built. He would allow them to reap the consequences of their rebellious ways, and as a result, they would suffer from drought, famine, and invasion.
Producing a Good Harvest
There is no “respect of persons” with God. He has a mandate for all those who have tasted his goodness. God has the same set of standards for all of his children. He expects his people to value the things that he values. But it is not enough to just hear and listen to God. He expects patient endurance and a willingness, if need be, to suffer for doing what is right. God wants those he calls into his family to rid themselves of all evil behaviour: deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and corrupt speech. His children are to be examples of godly living, in an ungodly world — a world that calls evil good and good evil.
Glory, honour, and a future beyond our greatest hopes awaits those who will embrace God’s ways and produce good fruit. Victory is assured to those who love and obey God. Are we producing sweet fruit or bitter? The choice is ours.