“Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes” (Isaiah 5:1-2).
Have you ever planted a garden or watched a farmer working with his crops? When I was a boy, my father made my brothers and I take care of a huge garden. We spent a lot of time planting, hoeing, and harvesting. As we did so, we expected it to bring forth a bountiful harvest.
In Isaiah 5 God pictures His people as a vineyard which He has planted: “For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant” (Isaiah 5:7a). God had diligently nourished them: “…He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it” (Isaiah 5:2a). As a farmer expects a proper harvest from the seed he has planted, so the Lord expected a proper response from the people He had blessed: “So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes” (Isaiah 5:2b). Furthermore, He adds, “He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help” (Isaiah 5:7b).
As the chapter progresses, God describes the iniquity His people were bringing forth. They had become greedy (Isaiah 5:8-10). Many among His people had become noted for their drunkenness: “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink; who continue until night, till wine inflames them!” (Isaiah 5:11). Furthermore, the Lord describes them as carrying on their sinful activity everywhere they went: “Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as if with a cart rope” (Isaiah 5:18). God’s people were refusing to recognize evil and, in fact, were approving of it: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).
As a result of these “wild grapes” which God’s people were bringing forth by their rebellion against God, God was going to bring His judgment upon His people’s iniquities: “And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; and break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned or dug, but there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it” (Isaiah 5:5-6). Sadly, God had to render justice on the vineyard He had so lovingly planted.
As I think about this 5th chapter of Isaiah, I think: “How do I respond to God’s love and care for me?” God provides for my physical needs. He makes sure to provide for my food and clothing (Matthew 6:30-32). I am awed by the way He nourishes me. Even when I messed up my own life by falling into sin, which separated me from God (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Isaiah 59:1-2), God provided a way for me to be saved from my sins through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Mark 16:15-16). God has shown great care for me. I do not want to respond to His grace by bringing forth “wild grapes” in rebellion to God. Today, I will strive to respond to God by showing respect and reverence for Him by obeying His Will in my life that I may bring forth a harvest that is pleasing in His sight!
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).