Does God love me?
Sometimes we look at our lives and we wonder. We go through hard times, and wonder if God really cares. Or we mess up our lives, and wonder if God has given up on us.
And perhaps Israel felt the same way. But God told them,
“Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, the Lord, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it. I am not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me! I would march against them in battle; I would set them all on fire. Or else let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me, yes, let them make peace with me.” In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit. (2-6)
Here God compares Israel to a vineyard that he is tending. And what he told them, he tells us.
“I watch over you.” My eyes are on you, and I see everything that is going on in your life. Nothing escapes my notice. Every smile, every tear, I see it all.
“I water you.” When you are feeling dry, I will refresh you. When you are thirsty, I will quench your thirst.
“I guard you.” When your enemies come against you, I am your shield. When fear strikes you, I am your refuge.
“I fight for you.” When you are overwhelmed by the enemy and all seems lost, I will fight for you and help you overcome.
“I will make you fruitful.” Your life will blossom and all the world will be blessed because of you.
“But what if I sin? Will God reject me?”
Even then, God does not cast you aside. Isaiah writes,
Has˻the Lord˼ struck her as he struck down those who struck her? Has she been killed as those were killed who killed her? By warfare and exile you contend with her– with his fierce blast he drives her out, as on a day the east wind blows. (7-8)
The Lord will discipline us when we sin and rebel against him. But as he did not wipe out the Israelites, neither will he wipe us out. And when we repent, he will restore us. God told Israel,
In that day the Lord will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one. And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem. (12-13)
God’s anger toward us does not last forever. Neither will we be annihilated for our sins. He only waits for us to turn to him, and he will restore us and make us his fruitful vineyard once again.
As David wrote,
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)