Today: [Isaiah 5] You are God’s Vineyard! In chapter 5 of Isaiah we see the prophet expressing the deep love of God for His people. He sees you and I as a choice vine that He has planted with great care and expense. He then looks to us expecting to see a vintage brought forth that is sweet to His taste. Unfortunately in the passage He expects sweet grapes but wild grapes are produced. This speaks of what the Father is looking for in our lives. Most people are incapable of this kind of introspection. Is Jesus getting what He paid for in your life? What are you doing with the salvation bought for you at such a price. It is a moment of clarity that has value for every one of us – if you are capable of hearing it.
[Isa 5:1-30 KJV] 1 Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: 2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. 4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? 5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; [and] break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: 6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts [is] the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
The beginning passage of Isaiah 5 is one of those sublime passages that conveys so eloquently the love of the Father for His people. It is reminiscent of the Song of Solomon in its tender expression of God’s love for His church. He describes the Beloved as a vineyard in a very fruitful hill. When God sent Jesus to die in our place and to cleanse our sins He didn’t have in His mind a monk’s cell and living on bread and water. What is God’s dream for you? It is seen in this verse – a well tended vineyard in a very rich, productive environment. He wants to plant you where you will grow. He wants to see you be fruitful and produce the vintage of God in great joy not only for yourself but for others. Verse 2 tells us He puts a fence round about us. Job’s tormentor encountered that fence and complained that he could not break through to molest Job as he wished:
[Job 1:10 KJV] 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
Not only did the Father plant you in a fruitful place and put a fence of protection around you – He took care to gather the stones out of that prepared ground. Stones represent those things that offend. This can be that which offends God but also those things that would offend and damage your faith. Theologians suggest a capricious God hurling lightning bolts of dread sovereignty into our lives in the form of suffering and sorrow to serve some immutable purpose. That is not your God. God’s wrath burns hot against those things that would scandalize your faith as Jesus attested to:
[Mat 18:6 KJV] 6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
In this vineyard Isaiah goes on to say that God planted you – not in a slipshod manner but as one would plant the choicest vine. When He gathered you up He didn’t go to the bargain section or closeout shelf at the local lawn and garden store. He paid the dearest price for the greatest gift when He saw you and He considered you a pearl of great price. You will notice as well that God put an enigmatic piece of spiritual equipment in the vineyard that is your life – the winepress. We don’t like pressure but remember that Acts 14:22 says that it is through great tribulation (pressure) that we enter the kingdom. Wine is made by pressing and olive oil (anointing) comes forth by bruising the olives to release what is in them of value.
Having made all this provision to the disappointment of the Vinedresser, He looks that it brings forth grapes and instead wild grapes should be brought forth. We don’t ever want this to be said of our lives. How do you know if you are producing wild grapes? There was a saying in ancient times that Jer. 31:29 references: “the fathers have eaten sour grapes and set the children’s teeth on edge…” What about the other way around? As a child of God is that which is produced in your walk something that sets the Father’s teeth on edge? Are there things in your life that make Him cringe or that grieves the Holy Spirit? Many teachers today teach in such a way as to suggest that God loves you so much that His spirit cannot be grieved toward you in any way but that is inconsistent with scripture. As a result in the Old Covenant of a disappointing vintage the Vinedresser tears down the vineyard to start over again. This is plan B in God. It can be very costly. It doesn’t mean you are cast off forever but our highest goal should be to get it right the first time. If you haven’t done that and feel it is too late be of good cheer – but also determine to walk circumspectly before God.
8 Woe unto them that join house to house, [that] lay field to field, till [there be] no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth! 9 In mine ears [said] the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, [even] great and fair, without inhabitant. 10 Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah. 11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, [that] they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, [till] wine inflame them! 12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands. 13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because [they have] no knowledge: and their honourable men [are] famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. 14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. 15 And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled: 16 But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness. 17 Then shall the lambs feed after their manner, and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat. 18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope: 19 That say, Let him make speed, [and] hasten his work, that we may see [it]: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know [it]!
Isaiah goes on to lament that not only is the fruit of the southern kingdom’s doings an offense to God but observes that they have joined house to house and come together in great unity, but not in God’s will. One of my mentors was prone to remark with a wry expression that people who do things wrong tend to do a lot of it and that people who do things right often do so on a very frugal budget. Speaking through the prophet in verse 9 the Lord declares that these populous housing tracts in Jerusalem will be left desolate and the day came that such a thing actually happened. There were to be times in history going forward that Jerusalem was almost totally uninhabited. How does this apply to the church? In our day, there is a growing and measurable trend of people moving away from the church. Even among people who feel they have a personal and intimate walk with God there are many who have walked away from the brick and mortar church. Another trend has been in those that attend church that the small church setting has been eschewed in favor of large mega congregations and even groups that meet in what is called multisite churches from great distances to view activities on a theater screen by satellite. All of this has served to distance believers one from another in the traditional setting of the church. We can bemoan this and even point the finger at those who dare to go on with God outside the walls of the church but have we considered that perhaps this is God’s doing because the church, His choice vineyard has produced something other than the vintage He desired.
20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! 22 Woe unto [them that are] mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: 23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! 24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, [so] their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. 25 Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases [were] torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand [is] stretched out still. 26 And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly: 27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken: 28 Whose arrows [are] sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind: 29 Their roaring [shall be] like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry [it] away safe, and none shall deliver [it]. 30 And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if [one] look unto the land, behold darkness [and] sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.
Verse 20 speaks contrary to those that call evil good, and good evil. Sometime you can’t make lemonade out of the lemons. There are times that God says “enough is enough”. Being positive without being principled is not a virtue. Verse 21 goes on to warn those that are wise in their own eyes. In the day we live in with social media providing a platform for every opinion imaginable everyone becomes an expert and woe be to the person who points out error in something that they find posted there. This has promoted the condition that Peter warned would come:
[2Ti 4:3 KJV] 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
My step-daughter Jennifer posted a very sound remark refuting a fallacious belief that many hold to that it is really ok to abuse marihuana since after all God made it. The remark included the observation that God made hemlock as well that doesn’t mean we should drink it. Someone came back with a long objection that there was no conceivable contradiction between living wholeheartedly for God and abusing drugs – it was all a personal choice and Jennifer was conceitedly told to keep her opinions to herself. What an astonishing thing that a so-called believer would adopt such a viewpoint. Individualism and licentiousness has rendered many incapable of being taught in any way. When they come under the pressure of the truth they simply raise the flag of individual freedom and “you have no right to judge”. To this the Lord speaks against through the words of Isaiah. We have to look at this and realize that it is unlikely you will ever convince such a person who thinks like this. What about you? Are you correctable? Or will your vineyard go on producing wild grapes – setting the Father’s teeth on edge until a decision is made to plow under that life and start again due to a refusal to give forth the vintage that the Father longs for?
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