Lament of the Vineyard
Gracious Heavenly Father, how good You are and so kind! You care for me and all Your people so well!
Read 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.  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.  “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.  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?  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.  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.”  The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy is the Lord judging his "vineyard"?
Isaiah sings of the Lord planting a vineyard, then spells out his meaning (7). God chose the people of Israel and put them on a fertile hill. He prepared his vineyard, digging it and clearing it of obstacles to life and growth. He protected the vines from attack, building a hedge (5) and a watchtower. Yet when he comes to look for the fruits of righteousness and justice, he finds only violence and oppression.
This Hebrew language is full of allusions. The vineyard refers to the Temple in the City of David, and David means “beloved.” The watchtower is an image for the sanctuary, a place for hearing from God. The word for “justice” sounds like that for “bloodshed” and the word for “righteousness” like that for “cry.” This combination of “bloodshed” and “cry” evokes the story of Abel’s blood crying out from the ground to God (Gen. 4:10). Isaiah feels the Lord’s disappointment, calling him “the one I love” and describing his love for Israel, “the garden of his delight.” This contrasts with the image of the vineyard being trampled and made a wasteland (5,6), and emphasizes how dreadful the coming judgment will be.
Reflect on how God has provided for you all these years. When he looks for fruit in your life, what will he find?
Loving Lord, You have chosen me and provided for me so very well. Help me to be fruitful in living for You.
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