“I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up.”
The way bible imagery all works together from Genesis to Revelation is further evidence to me that it all comes from one Author. We are planted—Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Col. 2:6-7)
Jesus said, “He who abides in me and I in Him, produces much fruit, apart from me, you can do nothing.” One day Jesus looked to a fig tree for food, but found nothing but leaves. He said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. The focus of this story is usually what follows: The disciples want to know how Jesus made the tree wither and the short version of His answer is “faith.”
But let’s also consider that fig tree—it produced no fruit, which in our analogy means it wasn’t abiding, it wasn’t drawing life from its roots. And so it withered. We can’t produce fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) on our own any more than we can sprout a fig on our own. Next time you’re feeling a bit withered, you might think of yourself trying to grow a fig out of your fingertip and have a good laugh. Then remember Who you’re rooted in—if you stick with the One who binds the brokenhearted, He’ll build you back up!
Scripture references: John 15:5, Mat. 21:18-22, Isaiah 61:1
Then the LORD said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
And I said, “Figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad, very bad, which cannot be eaten, they are so bad.”
Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans. For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.”