Isaiah 5:1–7 (NLT): A Song about the Lord’s Vineyard

1 Now I will sing for the one I love

a song about his vineyard:

My beloved had a vineyard

on a rich and fertile hill.

2 He plowed the land, cleared its stones,

and planted it with the best vines.

In the middle he built a watchtower

and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks.

Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes,

but the grapes that grew were bitter.

3 Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah,

you judge between me and my vineyard.

4 What more could I have done for my vineyard

that I have not already done?

When I expected sweet grapes,

why did my vineyard give me bitter grapes?

5 Now let me tell you

what I will do to my vineyard:

I will tear down its hedges

and let it be destroyed.

I will break down its walls

and let the animals trample it.

6 I will make it a wild place

where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed,

a place overgrown with briers and thorns.

I will command the clouds

to drop no rain on it.

7 The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

The people of Judah are his pleasant garden.

He expected a crop of justice,

but instead he found oppression.

He expected to find righteousness,

but instead he heard cries of violence.

This is not your typical love song.

A vineyard is a special kind of gift. It is a creation of a home. Vineyards would provide some Ford provision for the family and a source of income. Digging a vineyard was like proposing a new family business.

Vineyards are not for the fainthearted. One business expert writes,

“Patience is a virtue — especially in the wine game. It takes at least two years for a vineyard to produce fruit and four years for the delivery of the first bottle of wine. If selling your wine is your dream or you are hoping to expand, you may want to buy grapes from elsewhere until your new properties yield fruit.”

So, perhaps like a good love song, there is challenge and no promise of quick and easy results. It takes patience and perseverance. It takes faithfulness.

But for all God’s faithfulness, his kingdom only produced sour fruit. Not only does this reflect on the land and vineyard, it ultimately reflects back on the one who created this vineyard in the first place. Any wine made to provide for the family would be rejected and the family reputation destroyed. With the reputation gone the only way for the family to survive would be to abandon the vineyard and start over.

If we are God’s vineyard, why does he keep giving us second, third, twentieth chances? Why does He not remove His blessing from us and just start over? Because of His love. God does not give up on us because His love is greater than all of our faults. He knows that sour grapes do not become sweet with harshness but only through kindness. This Advent season, in the midst of the cynicism around us, can you recognize God’s faithfulness.

  • Where has God shown you patient love?
  • How can you show God faithful love in return?
  • Who else in your life do you need to show patient, faithful love?

Amazing love, how can it be

That You my King would die for me

Amazing love, I know it’s true

It’s my joy to honor You

In all I do I honor You

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