Chapter 39 The Grapes Of Eshcol

They came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes (Numbers 13:23).

The journey of the children of Israel which led to Eshcol was a deep, dark way of human transgression. All the way through their wilderness wanderings we see this people’s proneness to transgress. The Lord had made redemption’s way an easy way to His inheritance in Canaan. But, alas, when they came to the borders of that good land their hearts were turned away from God’s repeated promise to give all of it to them. It is a sordid history indeed, and a terrible warning to all generations against the sin of unbelief.

Canaan, a Type of Christ

Canaan was “a land flowing with milk and honey,” and, as such, was another rich Old Testament type of the Lord Jesus Christ. The spies who searched out the land brought a cluster of grapes from Eshcol as proof of the richness and abundance of the land. It is here faith’s eye rests upon our Lord Jesus. He is our true rest—He the mark of our high calling—He the end of weary travelings—He the fullness who alone can satisfy—He the victory over all our enemies—He the land of pure delight.

What a beautiful sight Canaan must have been in all its magnificent abundance. It is a picture of all that is in Christ and all He has purchased and made available for us. All He is and all He has is ours, and such fullness, beauty, and excellence simply boggle the mind and beggar description. What mortal man could ever describe the glories of our blessed Lord’s Person, the excellencies of His nature, the beauties of His character? That is a volume which will take eternity to read, a swelling flood we shall never pass over, an everlasting brightening day which shall know no declining shadow.

Eschol’s Grapes, a Type of Riches in Christ

A cluster of grapes is the fruit of the vine, and our Lord spoke of Himself as “the true vine” (John 15:1), and thus all perfection. None of His fruit is bruised or diseased or distasteful. He bears nothing but sweet perfection. This is not so with Adam’s race. We all have been rolled in the mire, and our vile iniquities have made us corrupt trees with corrupt fruit. We can never be, on the ground of nature, acceptable or palatable to God. But here in His well-beloved Son is all fullness and sweetness. Here is richer fruit than ever was found in our wilderness of sin and woe. Here is fruit which is the crown of all perfection. Here is positive proof of the richness of God’s inheritance.

The Lord Jesus Christ is a cluster of divine and human perfections. “In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). The divine ingredients are His immutability, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. But in Him, also, are all human virtues, being absolute in all love, righteousness, justice, truth, holiness, and mercy.

In Him, too, is a cluster of all spiritual graces, so that John could say of Him: He is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Isaiah says, “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2), The Jews of old often used the term “cluster” to describe a person whom they regarded as having all excellencies and perfections, and who but their Messiah could be so worthy of such a title?

He is also a cluster of spiritual blessings. All the blessings of the everlasting covenant are in Him and at His disposal, so that all who are His are blessed “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

The grapes of Eshcol were full of rich juice. They had to be cut down and squeezed and pressed before that rich juice could be released. Thus our blessed Lord was “wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Only so could our sins be expiated, our souls saved, and our persons made acceptable to God.

But the juice of the grape is also for cheering and refreshing. This we find our Lord to be to us as poor sinners, so that in Him we have peace and pardon, salvation and righteousness through His blood. He is indeed a sweet cordial to our sick and saddened hearts.

Each returning Lord’s day should find us drinking fresh raptures from Him and being filled with new measures of joy as we partake of Him. He is Eshcol’s full cluster.

Do we realize what heritage the Lord has given us in His Son? This is the inheritance of His redeemed ones. Let us be certain we are His—altogether His—and let our souls feast upon Him. Oh, for faith’s bright eye to see His worth and to embrace His sweet Person, and to hold Him in our hearts forever.

Jesus! How much Thy name unfolds
To ev’ry opened ear!
The pardoned sinner’s memory holds
None other half so dear.

Thy name encircles every grace
That God as man could show;
There only could He fully trace
A life divine below.

The mention of Thy name shall bow
Our hearts to worship Thee;
The chiefest often thousand Thou,
Whose love has set us free.

Mary Bowly Peters