What Does God Expect of Me?
Isaiah 5:2d—. . . and also made a winepress in it; so He expected to bring forth good grapes . . .
No one wants the Vineyard to succeed as much as the Father does. His ownership and His investments are the pure acts of God that pave the way for production for His glory.
A foundational verse that encourages faith goes like this: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Built into the fabric of faith is the idea that those who respond favorably to God’s person and provision will be rewarded.
Another verse which is used often for encouragement, while mostly taken out of context, fits perfectly here. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” Jeremiah 29:11-13).
This familiar Jeremiah passage, in its context, expresses the heart of our loving Father-Husbandman upon the return of Israel from captivity after they had so miserably failed the first time! No one hopes for us and provides for our fruitfulness like the Father.
As leaders, we must take the initiative to carefully observe every good gift of God that He gives to our particular stewardship of the Vine, point it out diligently to our flock, and exalt Him together. Assure them that behind these kind and loving gestures, He is building a winepress and hoping the best for us. Many of us work in very difficult places—yes, impossible places—but we will fare well if we remember the God of the winepress and concentrate on seeking Him diligently. Seeking Him with an undivided heart, even during difficult circumstances, is rewarded with eternal dividends.
In quick summary, God’s strategic placement, holy plowing, perfect planting, very present protection, and eager expectation should impress us to draw near to Him and work in the Vineyard with fullness of joy. We must remember that God does what He is, and He is what He does. These good gifts come down from above, from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (James 1:17). Remember, of His own will He bring His covenant people forth by the Word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures (James 1:18). He does not set a seeking, believing people up for failure even though He knows our frame is dust (Psalm 103:14). Because of the eternal gift of Jesus, we can surely say that God is for us (Romans 8:31-32)! We are free to move in faith, not fear.
Let me help your joy by sharing a word about the character and essence of God. God is independent of the created order, self-sufficient, and self-existent. He is life in and of Himself. He is a perfect being and behaves so toward His creatures. God does not change in any way. Because of this we are not consumed (Malachi 3:6).
The Lord our God is One (Deuteronomy 6:4). God is not made up of parts; He is not composite or a compounded being. His essence is His attributes and His attributes are His essence; all that is in God, simply is God. Therein lies the reconciliation of God’s sovereignty and our free will to seek Him. So, seek Him we can and we must. He genuinely wants us to use the winepress He has built! The marvel of our God is that He can—will change in us, though He Himself does not change. A further blessing for us who have been called to participate with the Father in the Vineyard is to know that all three persons of the Godhead are of one essence. Each person of the triune God equally and fully shares the one, undivided essence and the one divine essence wholly subsists in each of the three persons. Since God’s essence and attributes are identical, each Person wholly shares every attribute (John 10:30; 14:16). We can be secure in our ministries that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are postured for a full winepress, especially when the end is our good and His glory.
One of my favorite, heart-warming scenes in the life of Christ with His disciples is in John 21 where He had prepared breakfast on the shore. When life and ministry wasn’t making sense for them, He did just the right thing to provide some food, prove their character, and prepare them for ministry. From there, by the power of the Holy Spirit, they went on to “turn the world upside down!” You can too! Jesus captured all of this perfectly when He said, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:8). Again He said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain . . .” (John 15:16).
The Father wants the Vineyard to be fruitful.
He is a rewarder of diligent seekers.
Observe and point out His good gifts.
Talk of them and respond to them.
God does what He is.
God is what He does.
He is unchangeable and undivided.
He is a perfect being behaving perfectly toward us.
The ultimate end is His glory.
When disillusioned in ministry, meet with Jesus and some friends on the shore for breakfast and a good dialogue.
A Touch of Tozer
Certain things have been decreed by the free determination of God, and one of these is the law of choice and consequences. God has decreed that all who willingly commit themselves to His Son Jesus Christ in the obedience of faith shall receive eternal life and become sons of God. He has also decreed that all who love darkness and continue in rebellion against the high authority of heaven shall remain in a state of spiritual alienation and suffer eternal death at last
Reducing the whole matter to individual terms, we arrive at some vital and highly personal conclusions. In the moral conflict now raging around us, whoever is on God’s side is on the winning side and cannot lose; whoever is on the other side is on the losing side and cannot win. Here there is no chance, no gamble. There is freedom to choose which side we shall be on but no freedom to negotiate the results of the choice once it is made. By the mercy of God, we may repent a wrong choice and alter the consequences by making a new and right choice. Beyond that we cannot go.
The Knowledge of the Holy