The book of Isaiah contains a beautiful passage about the restoration of Judah, a prophecy that we see being fulfilled in the nation of Israel today.
“The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward.” (Isaiah 37:31)[i]
Why is Israel fruitful and abounding in blessings? It is because of their roots in God, in His Word (the Bible), and in His promises to them. How are we as Christians fruitful? It happens when we are partakers of the same roots as Israel.
If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. (Romans 11:16–18)
Through Christ, Gentile believers were “grafted in among them and became partakers with them of the rich root of the olive tree” (emphasis added). According to this passage, “If the root is holy, the branches are too.” From this holy tree, of which the Jewish people are the natural branches, has sprung forth the Righteous Branch, ha Mashiach (the Anointed One).
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
Then in that day
The nations will resort to the root of Jesse,
Who will stand as a signal for the peoples;
And His resting place will be glorious. (Isaiah 11:1, 10)
This fruitful Branch, growing from the same tree Paul describes, will be a signal, meaning a standard, for the people. In all the earth, there is no other standard for holiness. There is no other tree and no other root system that will bear the fruit God wants in the earth. Yeshua (Jesus) stated plainly, “Salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22). He also gave us a warning.
“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:18–19)
In another place we read, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted” (Matthew 15:13). Our fruit can look very good. We can do many great things in His name, and perform many mighty works, only to have Him say to us, “I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” (Matthew 7:23).
Our heavenly Father is not concerned that we simply bear fruit. He is concerned that we bear good fruit from the tree that He planted. Our focus should not be on the fruit, looking only at our efforts to produce success in our lives.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1:1–3)
The person who is successful is not focused on success. That person decides every day to be rooted in the law of the LORD. How will we walk? What will we stand on and stand for? What will we sit down to do? Let us choose every day to remain firmly grafted into the tree God has planted, bearing fruit among and with the natural branches of that tree.
[i] All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).