Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Isaiah 1 and 5 - A Rebellious People and the Vineyard

Its been ages since I posted, but Ive just finished my study on the book of Isaiah, and I wanted to blog about what Ive learned. Much thanks and accolades go to the Holy Spirit, Bible Study Fellowship, Marnie Meeks and my amazing discussion group who opened my eyes to the Scripture and taught me so much about this wonderful and complex book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 1

Isaiah's prophesy from God jumps right into how God feels about His people. And in those moments, He is not pleased. The people are in the promised land, post-Moses and Joshua. They have "conquered" the Promised Land (though not completely like God asked them to) and have settled there. Many kings have lived, ruled, died, some that honored God and others that spread and endorsed idol worship. Isaiah prophesies during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Of those kings, Hezekiah was the only that honored God.

Here is what God says through Isaiah about his people:

“I reared children and brought them up,
   but they have rebelled against me.
3 The ox knows its master,
   the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
   my people do not understand.”       Isaiah 1:2b-3

God has given His people everything they need, yet they rebel against Him. In chapter 5, Isaiah uses the analogy of a vineyard to explain God's provision and Israel's shortcoming:

My loved one [Isaiah speaking of God] 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?                 Isaiah 5:1b-4

God planted a vineyard. He cleared the land, turned over the soil, and planted top notch vines. He built a watchtower so that someone would be watching over the vineyard at all times - protecting it from foxes who might ruin the vineyard (SoS 2:15), intruders who might steal or ruin the grapes, frost or fire that might destroy the grapes. It makes me think of that movie with Keanu Reeves "Walk in the Clouds" where a family owns a vineyard, and give their lives to protecting that vineyard. A bell tolls at night waking the family up telling them that there is frost. They stay up all night warming the grapes. Another night there is a fire, and they give everything they have to protect the vineyard.

So it is with God. He says, "What more could have been done for my vineyard...? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?"

The question we have to ask is this: Are we following God with all our might, or are we rebelling against Him? Has He provided everything we need, yet we are still bad grapes? Do we produce sweet, fragrant, abundant fruit, or is our produce sour, withered, weak?

Where do you see God tending your vineyard? Open your eyes to see Him and His provision. Then give your life to Him completely. Give over every area; fully surrender. Then experience the LOVE of the attentive Gardener who tills your soil and watches your fruit constantly because He LOVES you.