Friday, February 21, 2020

Good Roots, Good Fruits!

Image by Klimkin, from Pixabay
As most of you know I am reading through the Bible chronologically this year, using a Bible I received last year from a ministry close to my heart, Movieguide.  Yesterday, I finished the book of Leviticus.  But, in addition, I played a little Bible Bingo yesterday morning, because....Leviticus, right?  (This is what one of my friends, Lily, calls the process of just opening the Bible to "wherever" and seeing what treasures are revealed. In talking, we both realized we did this yesterday!)

At any rate, in my "bingoing", I landed in Isaiah 37, where a phrase caught my eye:  "take root downward and bear fruit upward" (vs. 31).  Just prior, I had been praying for my children and their girlfriends as always.  This verse spoke to me about a person's relationship with the Lord, something I talk with Him about often - - mine, and those of my loved ones too.  In order to flourish spiritually, we first must sink roots deep into our relationship with our Savior, by seeking His face in prayer, by studying His Word.  Only then can we "bear good fruit" in our lives with others.  The New Testament has a few passages1 which compare the evidence of salvation in Jesus Christ with the luscious fruit of a healthy tree.  The roots produce the fruits!  If you have loved ones spiritually far from God, this is a good passage to pray over them, and also over those who are not!  We can all pray to the Holy Spirit, that He will nurture our roots deeper into Him.

Now, let's briefly examine the passage in general. 

30“And this shall be the sign for you: this year you shall eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from that. Then in the third year sow and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 31And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 32For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
33“Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. 34By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD35For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”
36And the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 37Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh. 38And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword.

Isaiah 37 concerns the southern kingdom of Judah.  By this time, the nation of the Israelites had split into the northern kingdom, Israel, and the much smaller kingdom, Judah.  The northern kingdom had, through ungodly kings, veered off into apostasy years earlier.  Therefore, God had allowed the brutal Assyrian Empire to overwhelm and conquer them.   Now, the king of Assyria, Sennacherib, had his sights set on Judah, which was ruled at that time by the godly king, Hezekiah.  Sennacherib had offered Hezekiah a "deal with the devil", but the Judean king had wisely refused.  In response, around 700 B.C., the king of Assyria had brought 185,000 soldiers, the approximate population of the city of Ft. Lauderdale, FL2 and close to the population of Mobile, AL.  Imagine all those armed soldiers, surrounding the city of Jerusalem, ready to pounce and utterly ravage!

God did not execute His judgment on the land of Judah at that time, although the people were spiritually wandering, already headed in the direction of their brothers from the northern kingdom, Israel.  He gave them additional chances to repent.  In fact, He supernaturally destroyed those 185,000 Assyrians (verse36).  The Angel of the Lord struck them down during the night.  Verse 29 predicted this when God said, "I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth; I will make you go back {to Assyria} the way you came."
In utter shock and complete defeat, Sennacherib slunk back to Nineveh, the Assyrian capitol.  Shortly thereafter, he was murdered by his own sons' hands.3

Unfortunately, even these mighty acts of their almighty God did not change the spiritual direction of the people of Judah.  Although Hezekiah was a righteous ruler, his successors were not.  In 586 B.C., God's patience with His increasingly-wandering people of Judah became exhausted. He brought King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians along to take many of the citizens of Judah away into captivity for 70 years.

Lord Jesus, thank you for nurturing our roots and tenderly calling us back to You when we wander.  Your "chesed", your lovingkindness, is better than life4!  Please continue to grow us up into You, no matter how long we have known You as our Savior, no matter how far away we have wandered.  Abundant life is found only in You.  Water our thirsty plants, who don't even know they thirst.  All glory belongs to You, Holy One of Israel!  Thank you for all You are going to do, in and through us today.  In the Name that is Above Every Name, the mighty name of Jesus, amen.


1.     Matthew 7, Matthew 12, Luke 6, John 15, to name a few.



4.    Psalm 63:3


  1. Well said ma'am. The roots worth having are those we've sunk into His lamb.