“Yet I planted you as a choice vine, from the purest stock. How then did you turn degenerate and become a wild vine?” —Jeremiah 2:21
Today’s devotion was written by Deacon Karen Katamay
One of my favorite places to shop is a garden center. I love strolling through the wide variety of flowers and other plants available and imagining them in my garden. Many of the plants have been bred to display favorable characteristics, or a vine with a favorable fruit may be grafted on to a hardier rootstock.
The specialized breeding can be desirable when first planted, but sometimes seeds from plants that have been genetically altered will revert back to the characteristics of the base plant over time. Or a cultivated vine may eventually become a wild vine if it is not properly tended.
The Bible uses a lot of natural images to help people understand God’s message to us. In this particular passage, the prophet Jeremiah is sending a warning to the people of Israel about letting themselves become corrupted by other cultures around them. They were God’s chosen people, his own special cultivar, his own pure stock. But when they intermingled with other kingdoms and cultures, they began to drift away from God and follow the religious customs of the other nations. They became like a wild vine in God’s garden, seeking their own way.
Today we do the same thing when we allow the things of this world to distract us and keep us from a close relationship with God. We know what God expects of us and the people he wants us to be, and yet we drift away and do what we want instead. We become like that wild vine, seeking our own path.
So how do we get back to being that choice vine in God’s garden? By going back to our root which is God, and nurturing our growth with the living water of Christ. God wants us to grow and flourish and we can best do that when we center ourselves in Christ and follow in his ways. And when we do that, we will be the fruitful vine that God wants us to be! Amen.