1 Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.
- a figure truly, but one that we may understand. It was a complaint against Israel that he "brought forth fruit unto himself" (Hos. 10:1).
Most people bring forth some kind of fruit; they do something; they achieve something; but as regards the mass of mankind, wherever found, the complaint is the same as against Israel: they bring forth fruit unto themselves. All that they scheme and contrive and carry out is for their own benefit. This, God calls emptiness, saying-
"Israel (in bringing forth fruit unto himself) is an empty vine."
We could understand this in the case of a fruit-bearing tree we might plant in our garden. Suppose the fruit was never in a pluckable state, and always absorbed into the tree, we should say the tree was useless. It is God's own illustration. Our lives must show fruit brought forth to him; something done for his sake; something done because he has required it - and not a little.
"Bring forth much fruit" - these are Christ's words.