My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.
Isaiah 5:1 (NIV)
It’s not easy to garden on a hillside. There are erosion and irrigation issues. If nothing else you are going to spend a lot of extra energy walking up and down the hill. That’s why most folks avoid hills. See Gardening on a Hillside (Sonoma County Master Gardeners 2013); Where to Put Your Vegetable Garden (Iowa St. Univ. Extension 2013).
But sometimes you have to put up with those things. Maybe that’s where the only, or the best, soil is available. Maybe the kind of crop you want grows best on a hill. Sometimes you just have to deal with the hassles of hillside gardening if you want to be fruitful.
Maybe that’s the dynamic God is getting at here—that we sometimes have to travel a hard path to get to where we will bear the best fruit. We see that pattern multiple times in scripture. Joseph had to go through slavery to get to a position where he could provide for Israel. Moses had to spend 40 years in the backside of a desert before he was ready to lead Israel out of Egypt. David had to be chased by Saul for years before he was able to give Israel the leadership God wanted for it.
The same thing can be true for us, even if God doesn’t call us to such epic tasks. He sometimes makes us go where we rather wouldn’t because He knows that’s where, or how we’ll get to the place where, we’ll bear the best fruit. This week’s verses speak to that dynamic. Let’s see what they say.