Spiritual Formation

Do You Know What Day It Is?

Vineyard in Tuscany, Italy. Wine farm at sunset. Vintage

This week my prayer has been, “Lord, I just want intimacy with you!” I am convinced that intimacy with Jesus is the beginning of the answer to everything. In fact, I frequently find myself  trying to express the urgency of this pursuit of Jesus. But the thing is, this is not a one-way pursuit. God is pursuing us! Why? That’s mostly a mystery. David wondered about it too:

 3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3-4)

But He is mindful of us. 

From the perspective of the vineyard

〉  Isaiah 5:1-7, NIV

1 I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. 2 He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.

3 “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? 5 Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. 6 I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.”

7 The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

It seems to me it is abundantly clear from Scripture that what God wants is to cultivate soil, plant a choice vine, and bring forth a rich harvest. It also seems to me that, if the vineyard should long for the same thing, it would touch the heart of God.

Imagine that! The vineyard calling out to God, “O, God, come dig me up, remove the stones, plant in me a choice vine, watch over me from your watchtower, and bring forth a rich harvest for your glory!”

〉  Proverbs 24:30

30 I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; 31 thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. 32 I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: 33 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— 34 and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

Knowing what day it is

The man in this passage reminds me of Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem:

〉  Luke 19:41-44

41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

〉  Hebrews 4:1-7

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3 Now we who hjournalave believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

“So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7 Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

〉  2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

6 As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

The day is running out

〉  Luke 13:6–9

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ 8 “ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

How to respond

  • Learn to love and long for what God wants
  • Don’t settle for thorns in the vineyard
  • Cultivate a hunger for intimacy with Jesus
  • Understand the cumulative power of prayer
  • Cultivate genuine trust in the Father 
  • Don’t run from reality
  • Always know what day it is
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