The Lord’s Vineyard

In Isaiah 5, the prophet Isaiah sang a song about the one he loved and his loved one’s vineyard.  The one he loved is none other than the Lord. 

Isaiah explained that the Lord took care to dig up and clear away the stones for His vineyard.  He planted the choicest vines, built a watchtower in the middle of it, and carved out a winepress in its rock.  After all this careful work, He expected the vineyard to produce good grapes but it only produced sour, wild grapes which greatly disappointed the Lord.

Isaiah explained that the Lord’s vineyard was the house of Israel and the men of Judah.  He expected justice and righteousness but there was only bloodshed and cries of distress. He asked those in Jerusalem and Judah what He could’ve done to make His vineyard produce better grapes.

Because of the horrible fruit being produced, the Lord decided to remove its hedge of protection so that it could be burned.  He was not going to dig or prune it; He was going to allow the briers and thorns to grow up.  He was going to withhold rain too so that only a few crops would grow and told them the beautiful houses were going to become desolate and empty.  Isaiah was reminding the people that if they did not walk in obedience to the law, they would experience the curses of the law found in Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26.

The problem in Isaiah’s day was that the people were too busy feasting to consider the ways of the Lord.  Because of their lack of knowledge of how He works, they were going to go into captivity and be hungry and thirsty.  The Lord warned them that Sheol (hell) would be waiting for them. 

The goal of the Lord was to humble the arrogant, to be exalted in judgment, and to reveal His holiness.  Eliminating the wicked would “leave behind the sheep to graze in their own pasture.”  Isaiah was saying that once the unrighteous are removed, the Lord’s righteous people will be able to eat and thrive among the ruins of the rich.

Unfortunately, the wicked in Isaiah’s day didn’t seem to believe the warnings of the Lord.  They were just like people today who:

  • Say, “Yeah, right. Let it happen.  I’ll believe God’s plan when I see it.” 
  • Call evil good and good evil. 
  • Are wise and clever in their own eyes; they didn’t realize how blind they really were.
  • Drink alcohol all the time.
  • Accept bribes and pervert justice.

Isaiah explained that their destiny is the lake of fire because they have rejected the law of the Lord.  Not only is the Lord’s hand ready to strike them down dead in the streets, He’s calling for other nations to come and destroy them!  What’s worse is that the righteous are at risk of suffering the curses brought on by the wicked.

As Isaiah 5 comes to an end, Isaiah speaks of “that day.”  This clearly signals that this passage was not only for the people of Isaiah’s time, it’s also for our time because “that day” is the day of the coming of the Lord.

Do you doubt and think this passage was only for the people in Isaiah’s time?  It’s not!  In Luke 13:6-9, Jesus gave a similar illustration or parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.  7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’  8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.  9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'”

The parables of the kingdom of God are timeless!  What would it be like for this fig tree to be cut down?  It will be like the description of the day of the Lord given in Amos 5:18-19: “Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light. 19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him!

Revelation 14:19-20 describes it like this:  “For the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.”

Do you know how to avoid being thrown in the this winepress?

Many people are of the opinion that the kind of fruit God is looking for is simply good deeds.  Certainly those are pleasing to the Lord but He really wants us to be obedient to the law.  This is true righteousness.

If you want to avoid being cut down by the Lord, turn to Him, let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream–love justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God!

In addition to these, Galatians 5:22-24 gives more detail of the kind of fruit that should be in our lives: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”  These are a result of lawfulness.  This is where blessing come from. 

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