Monday, February 16, 2015

God’s Vineyard

Isaiah 5:1-17

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: 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.

And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.  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?

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: 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.  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.” (Isaiah 5:1-7)

Isaiah compares Judah and Jerusalem to a carefully developed vineyard, been planted on a fertile hillside to be sure the soil will drain well and prevent the roots from rotting.  The rocks have been removed to allow free growth and the vineyard has been fenced to keep animals from damaging the vines.  The owner has selected the very best and most productive grape vines he could obtain and set up a place for a caretaker where he can readily spot any vandals or animals that get past the fence.  He built a winepress on site so that there would be no losses in transporting the fruit.  After doing everything he could to ensure maximum production he got very little return.  Instead of the large crop of large sweet grapes he expected. The vines had reverted back to the wild state producing only a few small, unpleasant tasting grapes.  He has invested a lot of money and several years of work for almost no return. 

Frustrated by the lack of return, he will not invest any more labor.   Instead of pruning and cultivating the around the plants, he will tear down the fences and let the weeds and grass grow so his livestock can eat the leaves and weeds that grow and give at least a little return for his effort.  He won’t bother to irrigate it anymore.   It will not be what he wanted but he can salvage a little of his investment. 

God had placed Judah in the Promised Land to represent him to the world around them and to do the things he had commanded.  Instead of making sure everyone was treated fairly, they had deliberately taken advantage of the weaker people.  Instead of doing what was right they were hurting and killing each other, trying to gain the advantage.

“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!  In mine ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant.  Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah.” (Isaiah 5:8-10)

God is going to bring sorrow, suffering, and judgment on those who have become greedy, trying to get control of all the homes and farmland so that people are forced to come to them and do what they want.    They will be unable to find renters and lose their investment as the houses deteriorate.  The crops will not produce enough to even pay for harvesting them.  Instead of a couple of thousand gallons of grape juice, ten acres will only produce about six gallons.  Six bushels of seed will only yield about a half bushel of grain.    

“Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!  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.  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.” (Isaiah 5:11-13)

God would also judge those who were spending their lives enjoying themselves, partying and drinking throughout the day.  Though they incorporated a lot of music in their worship they weren’t concerned with what God had commanded or how he was working to get their attention.  Because they don’t know or understand God’s plan their leaders are poor and their common people are starving. 

 “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.  And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled: But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.  Then shall the lambs feed after their manner, and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat.” (Isaiah 5:14-17)

Because God’s people have ignored his commands and working, the forces of evil have expanded and their pride and ceremony will fall into sin along with multitude of their people and the ones who are celebrating what they are doing.    Everybody from the least important beggar to the most powerful rulers will be shamed by what happens.  Only god will get any glory out of what happens, making it clear he will not put up with the evil.  The defenseless, like little lambs, will be free to enjoy whatever they want, and what had been reserved for the rich and powerful will be available to people they never heard of.   


  1. God truly provides all we need, in abundance, and has wonderful plans for His chosen people and His children. Sadly, many will miss out on most of it because of disobedience. Even those who are saved will experience sorrow and loss at the judgment seat of Christ when we see the difference between His perfect plan for us and what we actually realized because we failed to follow Him perfectly. Thanks for the great post & God bless,

  2. Thanks, Laurie.

    One can only wonder what we are missing because we(the church) have refused to follow God completely.