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)
The Vineyard Of The Lord
Isaiah was a superlative prophet whose preaching was plain, direct and controversial. The period of time was the disintegration of the nation of Israel as it imploded on itself filling its belly with the waste of idolatry. During his life, two major crises bring war with Syria and the impending assault by the Assyrian nation. Isaiah lived in troubled times and the people of God would suffer greatly. The reason for the terrible things that would befall the nation was because of their continued rejection of the Lord. Following the death of Solomon, Israel divided into the nation of Israel to the north and Judah to the south. Ten tribes made up the northern kingdom and rapidly fell into wickedness. The southern kingdom of Judah and Benjamin would experience good kings and evil kings but eventually be taken to captivity by the Babylonians for seventy years. Prophets like Isaiah warned the people repeatedly of the coming justice of the Lord but to no avail.
The appeal of Isaiah was to show the people why God chose them in the beginning. Israel was a nation built upon the promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God delivered the people from the bondage of Egypt and made them a great nation. Isaiah uses a parable of a vineyard to express all the Lord had done for the people. His plan was to raise up a nation that would glorify Him and God did all He could do to help the nation become a glorious example of His love and grace. Like a farmer who plants a vineyard so that he may enjoy the blessings of its fruit, so the Lord established Israel for His glory. The tower in its midst was to protect the vineyard and the winepress to enjoy the blessings of the fruit. All God intended for Israel was to no avail because instead of the vineyard producing good grapes He only harvested wild grapes. The Lord planted Israel for His glory but the people turned on Him and went after idols as their gods.
Israel’s rise and fall is clearly defined in scripture. Scriptures show all the Lord did to rescue the nation but they refused. Their final destruction and bondage was just reward for a people that refused to worship the Lord God in truth. Isaiah’s parable of the vineyard is still true today when men refuse to worship God in spirit and truth. The church was created to be a vineyard of good grapes. He built it and established it through the blood of His Son so the world can see His glory. What men have done with the church is likened to the wild grapes of disobedience and carnality. Man-made churches give glory to men and their passions rather than the simple truth of God’s word. Rejecting the plan of the church set forth in the New Testament, the church has become the totem of man’s wisdom and desire to seek salvation in themselves. Modern religion is filled with the wants of man and his pleasure. Like Israel of old, they serve the gods of self.
Within the body of Christ the destruction of God’s vineyard is found when men refuse to follow the plan of God. Churches languish for decades without leadership, immorality is common and the spread of the gospel is a rare sight. The local congregation of God’s people has turned into wild grapes. His glory is seldom seen in the lives of His people, His word rarely sought. The parable of the vineyard should be a warning of the complacency that so easily besets the people of God. We are here for His glory and His glory alone. The church should be a beacon of truth, righteousness and holiness showing forth the purpose and glory of the bride of Christ. We are created for the work of God as the One who expects our lives to bring forth good grapes.