“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1).
Song of Solomon 8:12 “My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.” Several last scattered thoughts on this verse, and then let’s move on.
There is a sense in which it is fair to consider ourselves and our productivity as “my vineyard, which is mine” and “is before me…” (although as we just noted, everything we call our own was given to us as a gift), but the Scripture more prominently pictures us individually as branches attached to the true Vine in the Lord’s vineyard, and we are assured that our job is simply to abide in him and he will keep us (John 17). We are reminded that, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1). Our hearts can rejoice in the soothing lullaby of Isaiah 27:2-3: “In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. I the Lord do keep it: I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it. I will keep it night and day.” In Ezekiel 36:8-9 the Lord gives the comforting promise that in the future he will again till and sow Israel, and she will shoot forth her branches and yield fruit. This blessed hope was given to the Jewish people, and some day we will all experience the full blessing of the wife of Jehovah (Israel) and the bride of Christ (the Church) living in perfect harmony…and as “one vineyard” if you will—the great vineyard called the kingdom of heaven. For the present, if we want to take up the challenge, we can also be faithful sons by working in our Father’s vineyard, because in Matthew 20:1 we are told, “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard…” In the next chapter, Jesus uses the idea of the kingdom being a vineyard again: “A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard” (Matthew 21:28). Of the two sons, the one who was commended was the one who obeyed his father and worked in the father’s vineyard.
I wonder…are we tending our Father’s vineyard? Are we being faithful sons? Are we dealing with “the little foxes that spoil the vines”? Are we praying for the peace of Jerusalem and for the day when God will again cause Israel to bloom? There is nothing that makes us love a man so much as to pray for him. Are we praying for the Jewish people? Are we praying for those who still need to be grafted into the Vine? Are we loving, giving, sharing, telling, preaching, going, and coming? Oh, beloved, let’s take up the challenge not only to abide faithfully in the Vine, but also to work faithfully in our Father’s vineyard! Then, our vineyards, which are before us, will produce fruit above all that we can ask or think…to the praise of his glory!