Scripture: verse 23
When that day comes,
wherever there once were a thousand grapevines,
worth a thousand pieces of silver,
there will be only briars and thorns.
Observation: “That day” is a day of rebuke and humiliation, not actual destruction – but it’s still vastly unpleasant.
Psalm 50 says that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. In Greek mythology, that sort of thing was usually straightforward: the cattle on an island were directly owned by a god or goddess, and the idiots who ate them (and there were always idiots who ate them) suffered divine retribution.
But God doesn’t have special hills set aside for His property. He doesn’t have very much use for cows, after all. He doesn’t have bank accounts or investments or deeds in His name. Instead, He just owns everything. The only things that God does not own are the people who have chosen not to belong to Him.
The thousand grapevines belonged to God. He made them, and He made them grow, and He provided the sun and rain and soil to support them. Humans helped, of course, in the pruning and tending, but if God removes His support there is nothing humans can do to keep a plant alive when it is dying.
God owns everything we have. We can’t diversify or hedge our investments to protect ourselves from Him. He owns it all and supports it all and holds all things together. All we can do is be grateful, every day, that He gave it to us.
As the fanfic* disclaimers say, it’s His world. We just play in it.
Application: Be grateful. God sustains our lives, moment by moment.
Prayer: Father, please forgive me for the times when I do not remember that everything I have is your gift to me. I praise you for all that you have built around me and used to teach me. Help me to use it wisely. Amen.
(* Fanfiction, or fanfic, is stories written by the fans of a work that incorporate characters or other elements of that work. Many authors begin with a disclaimer acknowledging that they do not own those elements. If you are interested in reading fanfic, I recommend AO3 – you can browse for works related to almost any work you can name, and you can find the things I’m working on under the username ladyphlogiston.)