Stories of Three Vineyards

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

When I read Isaiah 27, I was reminded of two other vineyard stories in the Bible.

The first is a parable of disappointment and destruction.

Isaiah sang a song for his Beloved. He told of hard work on the part of the vine-dresser. He cleared stones, built a wall, constructed stone vats to crush the grapes, and labored to protect the vines.

After waiting three years for the first grapes to appear, he exclaimed.

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 5.4)

The grapes were so useless that the farmer tore down all protection around his vineyard. He even commanded the clouds to not rain on the worthless patch of land.

Isaiah identified the vineyard to be the very people who should have been loyal and faithful to God. However, they were not.

He expected justice,
but saw bloodshed;
righteousness,
but heard a cry!
(Isaiah 5.7)

The Second Vineyard Song

Isaiah sang the first song, but God sang the second vineyard song.

On that day:
A pleasant vineyard, sing about it!

I, the Lord, am its keeper;
every moment I water it.
I guard it night and day
so that no one can harm it;

I have no wrath.
If it gives me thorns and briers,
I will march to battle against it.
I will burn it up.

Or else let it cling to me for protection,
let it make peace with me,
let it make peace with me.

In days to come Jacob shall take root,
Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots,
and fill the whole world with fruit.
(Isaiah 27.2-6)

What the people of God refused to receive from God (Isaiah 5), he graciously promised to make their reality.

— God will provide for their needs.

— God will protect them from harm.

— If the people rebel against God, he will make peace with them.

— God’s people will fulfill their purpose and bless the whole world.

As children of Abraham, God’s people inherited God’s blessing and a particular mission.

God declared, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12.3).

This vineyard song puts to music both aspects of God’s work with his people. He blesses us with provision, protection, and peace.

In turn, we are to be a blessing to all people.

How can wayward people become blessings? The third song of the vineyard answers this question.

The Third Vineyard Song

Jesus picked up images from the first two vineyard songs and used them to describe how God transforms people to be both blessed and a blessing.

Here are his words in a verse-by-verse setting with a few notes along the way.

John 15.1-2I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower.

He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.

The ethical and moral failure of God’s people that is frequently identified in Isaiah is alluded to as branches that “bear no fruit.” They have no part in God’s plan.

What is meant by “pruning” is everything that strips us of our pride and self-sufficiency. God’s desire is for his people to fully trust him by following his direction.

John 15.5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.

The kind of fruit that God desires is for his people to live a life like Jesus. Jesus is the perfect picture of someone who fulfills God’s perfect plan for their lives.

As we live in an interactive relationship with Jesus, he will transform our nature. We will live lives like his.

That relationship is crucial. Without it, the life that God has intended for us is unreachable.

John 15.7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

A praying life is essential because it brings us into a deep, personal relationship with our Savior.

John 15.9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.

As we read the painful passages of Isaiah’s book, we realize that love was lacking in so much of the bad behavior. They knew oppression, violence, scheming, war, and deceit, but love was absent.

The way we become a blessing in the world is to live with Jesus and live in his love.

God’s commands work to bring about the kind of life that God designed for us to live. If we love God with our whole being and love our neighbor as ourselves, we will be blessed and be a blessing.

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 bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist prayer team will pray for you.

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