You are Very God of Very God from the Nicene Creed.
You are the Victor,
a Very present help in trouble,
of inestimable Value.
You are the Vine and we are the branches.
You will Vanquish your foes.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Ps. 46:1 NASB)
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Cor. 10:13)
At the back of my tiny backyard are two very tall blue spruce trees, nearly forty feet tall. I can see these tall trees from the kitchen window and one summer I noticed that it looked like some vine, maybe even a grapevine, was climbing up the outside of one of the spruce trees. I paid little attention to it until it kept getting higher and higher in the tree and one day I noticed that some of the needles on the blue spruce were turning brown.
I went out to investigate but I couldn’t really get to the source of the vine because of the low-hanging spruce tree branches that went almost to the ground. I cut away some of the growth and tried to clear away enough of an area so I could see what might be growing up the tree. I saw what looked like a small tree trunk at the back fence and as I traced it up, I could see it was the source of the vine that was now killing my beautiful blue tree.
Here was this thing that really grew up with no encouragement. I never water or feed it or trim it. But just like other weeds, it seemed to survive on no care whatsoever. I always equate weeds with sin that is so hard to permanently uproot and that just keeps coming back to bother us again and again.
I had to call in the heavy artillery, my nearly-grown sons, to help me clear away enough of the undergrowth and cut down the lower branches to get to the base of the vine.
Of course the vine has a meaning quite the opposite of sin in the Bible because Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. Just like the branches of my grapevine couldn’t continue to climb and flourish once they were severed from their source, we can’t climb and flourish spiritually if we are not firmly connected to our Vine.
But there are both good vines and bad ones in the Bible. In Deuteronomy 32:32, Moses says of the disobedient Israelites, “For their vine is from the vine of Sodom, and from the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of poison, their clusters, bitter. Their wine is the venom of serpents and the deadly poison of cobras.”
Also, when Israel was disobedient, its vines were made to wither and be unfruitful as a punishment for sin and conversely, God made their vines fruitful when they were obedient.
I want to stay connected to the true Vine, not to some withered vine. And when I spot an evil one growing up in my life, my sin, I need to get out of denial, clear away the debris around it and expose it, remembering that my heavy artillery—the true Vine—will always help me when the job is too much for me.
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What words for God beginning with V come to your mind?
by Barbara Kois
Barbara Kois is a freelance writer, editor, author coach, and corporate communication consultant. She was born in Mobile, Alabama, and her family moved to Clifton, New Jersey, and then to Illinois while she was growing up. She has three grown children. She has written or co-written eight books.