Gracious Father, You are my enabler when courage fails, my protector in times of trouble, and my hope in life and death. Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Read Isaiah 5:1–7
The Song of the Vineyard
5 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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat was the last piece of fruit you ate? God designed its color, texture, and taste. Ponder His creativity in the small things.
Throughout the Bible, vines and vineyards symbolize God’s people. God is the gardener who tends, feeds, and nurtures His vineyards, desiring that they will bring forth good spiritual fruit.
Our reading today sets out the eternal spiritual problem: God has done everything for His people. He has given us a good world to live in, given us laws which are for our flourishing, and protected and provided for us. Yet still we go our own way and produce only the bitter fruit of selfishness, pride, and idolatry. Like Israel, we deserve the punishment God describes – destruction, devastation, and desolation.
And yet, from our privileged position on the other side of the New Testament, we know that there is a wonderful answer to God’s despairing question, ‘What more could I have done?’ One day, He would send a solution: not a new gardener, not a better method of tending and feeding the vine, but one who would enter into the vine and revitalize it from within. He would be the true vine (John 15) and any branch grafted into Him would flourish and bear good fruit.
Look again at verse 4. Can you hear the pain in God’s voice? Repent of anything you should. Then thank Him that we are no longer subject to the destruction we deserve.
Father God, above all else I do not want to disappoint You. I ask for forgiveness of my sins and a clear sense of direction for my life.