Jeremiah uses a number of metaphors to illustrate Israel’s rebellion from God. He begins as I mentioned yesterday with a prostitute. In Jeremiah 2:22 he uses the idea of a choice vine that had been planted and carefully tended but produced “corrupted” fruit. The verse says, “I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine?” As Martens observes, “Israel is elsewhere likened to a vine (Ps. 80:8; Isa. 5:1–6), but the point here is the detestable plant that she has become.”[1] The 05 life in the vinepicture is of God leading His people from Egypt and purifying them in the wilderness. For forty years he tended them, pruned out the unproductive branches, watered her and nourished her with what I truly refer to as “Miracle Grow” (Manna in the Wilderness). His love and care for them purged the poisoning influences. Then He planted them in a rich land that flows with milk and honey.

But in time the pagan influences around God’s vine (Israel) began to infiltrate the pure stock God had planted. The true vine became a hybrid of pagan influences and began to produce rotten fruit instead of the rich, red grapes, pure fruit, He expected.  Israel as God’s choice vine had become so corrupted in could not produce any fruit acceptable to God. The vines could only produce “mule” branches. Like the hybrid offshoot of a horse and a donkey, mules are incapable of reproducing and are usually unworthy of either horse or donkey. In the next metaphor Jeremiah actually uses the mule as another example.

It’s the picture of Adam and Eve planted in the most beautiful garden imaginable, yet sin corrupted their “seed” and from it came a race of people incapable of reproducing offspring pleasing to God. Everyone ever born has been born a sinner. Then came Jesus! In John 15:1, He refers to Himself as the “true vine.” Unlike the degenerate vines of Adam, He was the one who fulfilled the will of the Father.  He is called a second Adam. From the branches of the Father’s love for Him and His love for the Father, Jesus sprouted with the passion fruit for all mankind. In John 15:9, Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” Jesus’ love is the “miracle grow” for all believers. God desires us all to be fruitful. When we abide in His love the Holy Spirit invigorates good fruit in our lives, fruit of obedience. Jesus said in verse 10 that if we abide in His love we will keep His commandments. Then in John 15:12 He clarifies that, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

[1] E. A. Martens, Jeremiah, Believers Church Bible Commentary (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1986), 46.