And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward: (Isaiah 37:31)
And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. (2Kings 19:30)
Isaiah’s record was incorporated into 2 Kings by the author of that record. Isaiah added this material to make the references to Assyria more understandable. The northern 10 tribes of Israel were captured and taken into Assyria to be dispersed throughout the land. They were never heard from again. (From MacArthur)
This left the two tribes of Judah to think it over for another 150 years to see if they wanted to follow the fate of their wicked sister or if they would repent. Judah did not repent and was rounded up and deported to Babylon (modern-day Iraq). The Temple and most of the city of Jerusalem were leveled to the ground. Judah was given another 70 years to think it over in Babylon before a remnant returned to Israel to rebuild the Temple and the city of Jerusalem.
I am not introducing these passages to talk about Jewish history, although that’s a good thing to study. After talking about Milk and Meat Christians of Paul’s day, it is fitting that we consider what needs to be done if we are going to succeed at living the Christian life and bear fruit as we are commanded (John 15:5). In short, we must grow spiritual roots in our hearts if we want spiritual fruit.
By the time I was 12, I was being trusted to plow the garden. That was big. How do you plow close to the potatoes but not plow them up? How do you explain to the mule not to step on the beans? It was good for my mother to go back in the house and leave me and the mule alone. That left just me and the mule and we did well.
To go back a bit, my mother began teaching me to work in the garden when I was five, (I would be six in September) doing prestigious things like catching bugs on the beans and potatoes and putting them in a little jar of kerosene. (I wasn’t yet trusted to operate a hoe.) After the bugs were canned, I went to the next job of pulling weeds. You had to know the difference between a weed and the young vegetable seedlings coming up. She showed me the difference and went on about her work somewhere else in the garden.
When you pull up a weed, there’s a different looking part of the weed that you can’t see until you pull it up. It’s the root of the weed. (You can learn this at five if you want to.) If you accidently pull up a young bean plant, it’s not so easy to put it back in the ground and it’s not so easy to tell your mother what you have done. (She was patient.) I learned to have great respect for the root of the plants. If you want tomatoes to survive dry weather, bury the stem of the tomato plant up to the first leaf so the stem will make extra roots for taking up water.
In later years, I would learn to respect Johnson grass and Bermuda grass. Johnson grass and Fescue grass will grow a clump of roots so strong by the time of dry weather that you will need a mattock to dig them up. The thing about Bermuda grass is that you can’t possibly pull it up without breaking off some of its roots and leaving them in the ground. In no time, the Bermuda grass has multiplied by a factor of six. New grass is growing up from the broken roots. God made sure that Bermuda grass would do its job to feed the horses and keep the soil from washing away.
Our black berry vines are genius vines. They grow fast in the spring and when they touch the ground, a root will form where the briar touches he ground. As it grows and touches the ground, another root. A dozen blackberry plants will take over your garden in 3-4 years if you don’t keep them cut back and the roots dug up with a shovel.
A farmer/gardener gets to study about God in the garden. It takes a smart engineer to design a plant with a root to feed the rest of the plant. For a gardener to not believe in God he/she would have to have to be dumb as a rock or have a wicked heart. A teacher in high school commented that the roots of trees were sometimes as big as the top of the tree that you could see above the ground. I think this root and fruit thing is why most of the worst wickedness is concentrated in cities and the farm country has a lot less violence. In Medlock Hollow, our nighttime security was to make sure the screen was latched with a dime-store hook. Not so in the towns and cities.
If we want to have fruit of any kind, there will have to be a well-developed root. It’s always been that way and this is what the Bible is referring to in our text today. God would repopulate the land He had promised to the Jews and He would do it by growing the root first. They would have to rebuild their houses and establish businesses and trades. They would build a root that would sustain a larger population. Then there would be the fruit of thousands and thousands of new Jews. They treasured their children and had as many as they could. Makes you wonder why Americans are so eager to kill 60 million babies in the womb. Europe has quit having babies and in 30-40 more years they will be a minority in their own country. Jews don’t think that way. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. (Psa 127:3)
In living the Christian life, the pattern is set before us: we must take root downward if we are going to bear fruit upward. If we want to be successful at living the Christian life, we must give attention to sowing the seeds of the Word of God into our hearts so the Spirit will make it take root and produce fruit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23) Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
September 28, 2017 – THURSDAY
A.M. Isaiah 13-15
P.M. Gal. 6
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Great Memory Verses:
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deu 6:6-7
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; (Deu 4:9)
Song for Today:
Holy, Holy, Holy & All Thank We God (5:21) (Royal Albert Hall)
Wait a few seconds. You may have to adjust the volume.