Jeremiah had a vision regarding the people of Judah. He saw two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the Lord. One basket was full of very good figs, while the other was full of inedible fruit. The very good figs symbolized those who had been taken to Babylon in obedience to the Lord’s instruction, while the very bad figs represented the people that disobediently remained in Judah.
When the time of exile came for the Lord’s people, God’s prophet told them that they should not resist the Babylonian invaders. The horrifying discipline that they were experiencing was from the Lord’s hand. King Zedekiah and his officials were rejecting the sanction of the Lord. Many sought help from Egypt, hoping that an alliance would bring them the aid they needed to turn back the enemy from the north. God would soon come against them with sword, famine, and disease. Attempting to stay in Judah would only demonstrate their rebellion against the Word of God.
When Jesus came as the Lord’s Anointed, He passed by a fig tree one day and looked for fruit. He found none because it was not the season for fruit. The tree became an object lesson for the Lord’s disciples. Jesus cursed the fig tree just as God had cursed Judah in the time of Jeremiah. When Christ later came back that way again, the tree was withered at the roots.
The Old Covenant nation had become unfruitful. The Lord looked for righteousness when He came, but instead He found the same resistance to the Word of God that Jeremiah had witnessed in his own day. What did Jesus see in Jerusalem? There were money-changers in the court of the Gentiles, running their businesses on the temple mount. Zeal for God’s house consumed the Messiah, and He made a whip and drove out the offending commercial interests from what should have been a house of prayer.
The life that we are called to today involves sacrifice. We are to seek first the kingdom and righteousness of God, and everything else that we need to live a life of godliness with contentment will be added to us. We are to be filled with the fruits of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Without the grace of the Lord of the vineyard, we would all be stubble for the fire of God’s judgment. But Christ is a very fruitful tree, and He has granted not only that we should believe in Him, but also that we would have the privilege of suffering for His name.
Christ faced the curse of the covenant for us. We know that we have treasures in heaven, and nothing can separate us from the love of God. Our security is not in Egypt, or in Babylon, or in Jerusalem. Our hope is not in any earthly temple, or in all the riches of the world. We have a Savior in the heavens who has willingly given His body and blood for our salvation. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
King of kings, have mercy on us in the day of our greatest disappointment. Your plan is sure, good, and full. We have violated your holy commandments and deserve your wrath. Nonetheless, You have set Your eye on us for good. We will return to You with a whole heart. If you treated us as our sins deserve, we would be utterly destroyed from the land, but because of Your Son we have a confident expectation of the fullest blessing.