"Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit unto himself" (Hosea 10:1).

This is not a compliment but a lament. The vine (tree, plant) is a frequent metaphor for the people of God in the Prophets. Under God's patronage, Israel flourished like a healthy grapevine. But it became satisfied with its own luxuriance; selfishly wallowing in its own privilege. No person or people, called into fellowship with God, is ever the center of God's purposes. To bear fruit just for ourselves is to get in the way of God's intent. His interests go beyond us. The way to enjoy God is to join him in his plan to bless everybody.

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