I wish I could hear the tune to this vineyard song. I am sure it was a slow and powerful lament. It is a parable of God’s love for His vineyard (Israel and Judah – although “Israel” is sometimes a synonym for the southern kingdom in other parts of Isaiah and Nehemiah 1:6; 13:3). He planted it in fertile soil, removed stones, and protected it. He even made a winepress in anticipation of the production of good wine, but it was not to be so; only the bad grapes of injustice and unrighteousness were the result!
There are two cases of assonance (similarity in word sounds or “play on words”) in the Hebrew wording of 5:7 that contrast what God expected and what actually happened:
“Justice” (mišpāṭ) was replaced with “bloodshed” (miśpoḥ)
“Righteousness ((ṣeḏāqâh) was replaced with “distress” (se‘āqâh)
As a result of this, God would allow the vineyard to be destroyed. Isaiah 5:8-30 contain six indictments (“woes”) against the “bad fruit” produced by the nation. The six woes were directed at:
- Materialists (5:8-10)
- Drunkards (5:11-12)
- Doubters of God (5:18-19)
- Those calling evil good (5:20)
- Conceited ones (5:21)
- Drunken bribe-takers (5:22-23)
The consequences of their disobedience would be domination by external powers (5:24-30) and exile (5:13-17) that would involve hunger, thirst, death, humiliation, and desolation.
REFLECTION – Crazy G.R.A.P.E.S.
As I meditated on the “Song of the Vineyard” this morning, I could not help but think of John 15 and the picture of Jesus as the Vine and the Father as the vinedresser. He chose us to bear fruit as we abide in Jesus.
It also made me hearken back to a time many years ago (1981), when I sang a song with my fellow “GRAPES” (God’s Redeemed Actively Pursuing the Example of the Savior) at a Navigator Summer Training Program. I began by singing John 15:4:
Abide in Me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself
unless it abides in the vine,
so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
"Are you a small and lonely grape
Clutching to the vine
Waiting for the day when you’ll become your Savior’s wine?
Don’t give up hope ye heavy laden
You don’t want to be a raisin
There’s a grape, grape joy in Jesus
In the vineyard of the Lord."
The "raisin" is the second in line. All the rest are plump and juicy grapes.
Are you a grape or a raisin in the Lord's vineyard?
Are you clinging to the true vine (Jesus)?
Is your life bearing fruit?
Meditate on John 15 today.
Lord, help us bear fruit for You by clinging to the vine. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.