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The Apostle Paul declared two facts about us when he said, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3.23).
Isaiah 5 presents the truth of the sin problem of humanity.
“The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6.23).
The prophet’s experience of Isaiah 6.1-7 is what is needed for all humans for cleansing and transformation to take place. Jesus’ death and resurrection is God’s way to enable this to happen.
The parable of the vineyard in chapter 5 will help us see our spiritual condition.
The Beloved’s Vineyard
Isaiah had such a strong connection with God that he could call God his “Beloved.”
As we examine ourselves, can we say that God is our “Beloved” and that we are living in a love relationship with him?
Isaiah’s words are these.
1 Let me sing for my Beloved
my love-song concerning his vineyard:
My Beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
2 He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
he expected it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes. (Isaiah 5.1-2)
The Beloved farmer did back-breaking work to produce excellent grapes.
The stones that were removed were used to build a protective wall around the vineyard. Usually, two vats were used for pressing the grapes.
A watchtower was constructed to oversee the operation. Once planted and cared for, the farmer had to wait two years before the first grapes appeared.
Can you imagine the disappointment that was the farmer? First, he labored to build a state-of-the-art vineyard. Then, he waited two years for good grapes and was devastated over the appearance of stinking grapes.
The next part of this parable asks us to take a personal inventory of our lives.
3 And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem
and people of Judah,
judge between me
and my vineyard.
4 What more was there to do for my vineyard
that I have not done in it?
When I expected it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes? (Isaiah 5.3-4)
Let’s think for a moment about God’s hard work on our behalf.
— Jesus came to earth to show us what God is like. He died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead to authenticate everything he ever said and did.
— The Holy Spirit is active to draw us into a love-relationship with God.
— People have prayed for us and have encouraged us to enjoy all that God has done for us.
Let’s ask ourselves, what is the fruit of God’s labor in our lives? Do we display a Jesus-kind-of-life? Or, are we far less than what we could be?
Rock Bottom in the Vineyard
If the vineyard only produced stinking grapes, why should it receive the hard work of the farmer?
With several “I will” statements, God declared what he will do to the vineyard.
5 And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
6 I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it. (Isaiah 5.5-6)
Many people have been reduced to “rock bottom.” Some have remarked that this was both the worst day of their lives and the best day, too.
Several years ago, I spoke at a meeting with a man who was a quite successful designer of medical equipment. At the “rock bottom” point of his life, we walked to the middle of a bridge in San Diego, planning to jump to his death.
The Spirit of God changed his direction. He left the bridge and went to the first Alcoholics Anonymous hall he could find to get sober. Then, he found a church to connect with God.
He currently designs water purification devices for local pastors to use in impoverished nations around the world.
We rejoice when “rock bottom” turns into a friendship with God and usefulness in his work.
We grieve when “rock bottom” results in pain and death.
What God Requires
God does not leave us in doubt about the application of the parable.
For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice,
but saw bloodshed;
but heard a cry! (Isaiah 5.7)
The specific application of the parable is clear. The good fruit will produce justice and righteousness.
Once again, it is time to evaluate our behavior. Do we strive for justice in all of our dealings? Are there amends to be made over behavior that has caused people to cry out against us?
Jesus and the Vineyard
Jesus revealed the amazing grace of God in another parable about a vineyard.
A man came to the gardener and said, “See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?”
The gardener replied, “Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it.
“If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down” (Luke 13.6-9).
No doubt, the mercy of God is great. Let’s respond to it and be sure to live in a love relationship with God.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross is an excellent student of Isaiah. Rudy and I have a video you can see on the Bob Spradling YouTube Chanel.
Rudy will bring a different dimension to Isaiah than what is in my blog. I hope you will check out and enjoy my interviews with him.
I am indebted to a book by Dr. John Oswalt on Isaiah for his insights into this powerful book.
If you have a prayer request, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist prayer team will pray for you.