282 – FOUNTAINHEADS 4
In the Old Testament there are many texts difficult to understand. Jehovah condemned his people Israel because they should practice what is good and yet they practiced evil. Jehovah speaks allegorically, and compared Israel to a vineyard. About this vineyard he said: “‘Yet I had planted you a noble vine, wholly a right seed. How then have you turned into the degenerate branches of a foreign vine to me? For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before me,’ says the Lord Jehovah” (Jer. 2:21-22). With these words Jehovah is saying that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit (Matt. 7:16-20). The second thing that he is saying is that the people who he created in Egypt was faithful and could not degenerate (Jer. 2:21). The third thing included in this context is that Jehovah does not accept those who produce bad fruit when they should be producing good fruit (Is. 43:7). Jehovah declared concerning his vineyard: “Let me sing for my well beloved a song of my beloved about his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it up, gathered out its stones, planted it with the choicest vine, built a tower in its midst, and also cut out a winepress therein. He looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, please judge between me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Why, when I looked for it to yield grapes, did it yield wild grapes?” (Is. 5:1-4). What baffles us is that Jehovah, being god and creator of all plants, good and bad, would get mistaken when he planted his vine, and, while thinking he had planted a good vine, he planted a wild vine. And why did he destroy it, if this was so? The vine was not guilty of that! But the sacred text goes on: “Now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will take away its hedge, and it will be eaten up. I will break down its wall of it, and it will be trampled down. I will lay it a wasteland. It won’t be pruned nor hoed, but it will grow briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it. For the vineyard of Jehovah of Armies is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for justice, but, behold, oppression; for righteousness, but, behold, a cry of distress” (Is. 5:5-7). Jesus said: “Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree can’t produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit” (Matt. 7:17-18). If Jehovah had not gotten mistaken and had planted a good vine, he would have harvested good fruit. Therefore, it is not use punishing and trampling on the wild vine.
Jehovah does not accept that a bad tree produces bad fruit. It is hard to believe, but this is what is written. It is even worse to Jehovah that a good tree would produce bad fruit. The olive tree is a good tree, for it yields the precious oil. And Jehovah said by the mouth of Jeremiah: “Jehovah called your name, A green olive tree, beautiful with goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he has kindled fire on it, and its branches are broken. For Jehovah of Armies, who planted you, has pronounced evil against you, because of the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have worked for themselves in provoking me to anger by offering incense to Baal” (Jer. 11:16-17). In the first instance Jehovah planted a wild vineyard and expected the impossible, that is, that it produced good grapes. In the second instance Jehovah planted a good olive tree and did not expect it to produce bad fruit. He made a mistake in both cases, and destroyed the vineyard and the olive tree. In the case of the olive tree, it is incredible that it produced good and bad fruit; something that Jehovah does not approve of, for it is an abomination in his eyes.
Jehovah, so demanding concerning his people, that he does not accept the good producing bad fruit, and wants the bad to produce good fruit, produces himself the two kinds of fruit. Jehovah is a fountainhead of sweet and bitter water: sweet for some, and bitter for others.
1. Salomon said: “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, Jehovah has made even both of them” (Prov. 20:12). But Jehovah said to Isaiah: “Make the heart of this people fat. Make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn again, and be healed” (Is. 6:10).
2. Speaking of the prophet Jeremiah, who said concerning Jehovah: “House of Israel, can’t I do with you as this potter? says Jehovah. Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, house of Israel” (Jer. 18:6), Paul said: “Or hasn’t the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honor, and another for dishonor?” (Rom. 9:21). Unbelievable, but Jehovah is a tree that produces good and bad fruit, and it is also a fountain that issues sweet and bitter water.
3. We read in the book of Proverbs: “The rich and the poor have this in common: Jehovah is the maker of them all” (Prov. 22:2). The only ones that manage to explain this phenomenon are the spiritists, who affirm that the miseries of our present life are consequences of the evils practiced in past lives. In the light of reason, such discrimination does not obey any logical principle.
4. Jehovah gladdens the hearts of men. The psalmist David says: “You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and their new wine are increased” (Ps. 4:7). Nehemiah, the cup-bearer of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, who, together with Ezra, the Scribes, and the Levites went to Jerusalem to repair its walls, said to the Jewish people: “Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Don’t be grieved; for the joy of Jehovah is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). But Jehovah is also the god that embitters the souls of the righteous. Naomi, a good woman who lived in the time of the Judges, called out: “Call me Mara; for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20). And Job, the most righteous, faithful and sincere man alive on this earth, said: “My soul is weary of my life. I will give free course to my complaint. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will tell God, ‘Do not condemn me. Show me why you contend with me. Is it good to you that you should oppress, that you should despise the work of your hands, and smile on the counsel of the wicked?’” (Job 10:1-3). And Job said: “As God lives, who has taken away my right, the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter” (Job 27:2). Woe to the believers!
5. About the women, Solomon says: “Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor of Jehovah” (Prov. 18:22). And he goes on: “House and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from Jehovah” (Prov. 19:14). But Solomon declares: “The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit: he who is under Jehovah wrath will fall into it” (Prov. 22:14). And the great sage, disillusioned, pours forth: “I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and traps, whose hands are chains. Whoever pleases God shall escape from her; but the sinner will be ensnared by her” (Eccl. 7:26). Evil and good come from Jehovah (Lam. 3:38).
Just as the people of Israel asked for bread and water and Jehovah answered them, but with the bread also gave them death, in this same way Solomon asked Jehovah for wisdom and was heard, but with the wisdom Jehovah gave him 1,000 foolish and evil women who spiritually killed him (Ps. 78:23:31; 1 Kings 3:9-12).
by Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira