THE FIGURATIVE FIG TREE,
GOD GRACIOUSLY GIVES US TIME
Luke 13:6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
Susie: The nation of Israel is often represented by a vine or vineyard and sometimes as a fig tree. Jesus is now addressing not only individual responsibility and accountability but the response of Israel as a whole as well.
Susan: The fig tree in this parable does not have any figs on it even though it must be mature enough to be expected to bear fruit.
Susie: Just as individual Christians are designed to bear fruit—both the “fruit of the Spirit” and the fruit of other lives led to Christ, the nation of Israel was to be fruitful by being a blessing to all nations. Instead, the Jewish nation had become exclusive. Rather than bringing other nations to the true God, they isolated themselves.
Susan: The Jews were arrogant toward outsiders rather than serving as a light to draw them to the one true God. God had intended them to be a blessing to the nations.
Genesis 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. . .
Luke 13:7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
Susie: Three years was enough time for the fig tree to reach maturity and bear fruit, but it was empty.
Susan: Therefore, the owner’s attitude is that the fig tree should not waste space in his garden. It should be cut down and something else planted in its place. However, the gardener had a different idea. The gardener, like our Lord, believed in second chances.
Luke 13:8-9 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
Susie: The gardener proposes working with this fig tree a little longer. He plans to loosen the soil and place dung (fertilizer) around the roots. Then he will give it one more year in which to thrive and bear fruit.
Susan: Father God is the gardener. We learn in John chapter 15, that God tends His garden by selective pruning in order to increase production (Don’t I know this?!) Sometimes He does completely uproot and cast out those who have never taken root in Jesus. However, He is not hasty in doing this.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Ponder this and Apply it: You may have a friend or loved-one whose behavior makes it tempting to give up on them totally. However, as long as God leaves them on this earth, there is still a chance for them to turn to Him and allow Him to completely transform their lives. Continue to pray for them and, as the Lord leads, to share with them. This does not mean you should become their doormat, but that you should seek the Lord in your interactions and continue to be a reflection of His grace. Think back on the second chances the Lord has given you! Praise Him for His steadfast love and grace!