Day 30: Isaiah 5:1-7
I will sing for the one I love
a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard
on a fertile hillside.
2 He dug it up and cleared it of stones
and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it
and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
but it yielded only bad fruit.
3 “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
4 What more could have been done for my vineyard
than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes,
why did it yield only bad?
5 Now I will tell you
what I am going to do to my vineyard:
I will take away its hedge,
and it will be destroyed;
I will break down its wall,
and it will be trampled.
6 I will make it a wasteland,
neither pruned nor cultivated,
and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds
not to rain on it.”
7 The vineyard of the Lord Almighty
is the nation of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are the vines he delighted in.
And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.
The metaphor of a vineyard is used frequently throughout the Bible. Sometimes, as in the Song of Solomon, it is associated with the picture of a bride and her beloved. Isaiah opens with what at first appears to be a love song but quickly becomes a song of lament.
If you have ever been in a relationship that had great potential but ended up broken, then you can relate to this image. It begins very positively with an intimate God (the beloved) doing hard work to prepare the land, carefully tending and planting the soil like all good farmers, hoping with high expectations that there will be a good harvest. The idea conveyed in these verses is that the future outcome of the harvest is uncertain, even for God.
As in all relationships there are individuals on both sides who have responsibility. This is reinforced by the obvious divine disappointment and frustration at the way things turn out. Instead of a good harvest the yield is only bad fruit. In spite of God’s best efforts, things go wrong! In verse four, God asks two genuine questions that anyone who has experienced a broken relationship has asked: “What more could I have done?” and “Why did this happen?”
As you ponder these verses today, think about your relationship with God. God desired for Israel to live rightly, but they continually disobeyed. God’s expectations for us are also that we would live obedient, righteous lives, and He has done everything He can to make this outcome possible.
Are we doing our part?
Justin Lewis | Facilities Director/YAMs Pastor, Lima Community Church