Day 4 Read: Isaiah 5:1-7
Let me sing for my beloved
my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
2 He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.
3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
4 What more was there to do for my vineyard,
that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?
5 And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
6 I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and briers and thorns shall grow up;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
and he looked for justice,
but behold, bloodshed;
but behold, an outcry!
Reflect: In this parable in poem form, what had the vineyard owner done to ensure a good crop? What kind of crop did the vineyard yield? Who is the vineyard in this parable (v. 7)? What crop was anticipated? What was the poor crop this vineyard produced?
Consider: Isaiah’s poem about the vineyard is parabolic. Isaiah may have sung it at a wine festival and surprised his listeners with the application. He sings about a “friend” who gave himself with exacting care to the preparation of a vineyard. The vineyard, however, produces only sour grapes. Isaiah asks what else this “friend” could have done for the vineyard. The rhetorical question must be answered! The prophet then explains that the vineyard represents the people of Israel and Judah, and that the Lord is the Keeper of the vineyard. He deeply cared for his people and lavished on them his grace and love, expecting justice and righteousness as the appropriate fruits. Instead of justice and righteousness, the people have responded with bloodshed, which has elicited a cry of distress from the downtrodden.4
Respond: How do you think the crop of the “vineyard” of our church compares to the crop God expects? What do you need to do to better fulfill God’s expectations?
4 Willem A. VanGemeren, “Isaiah,” in Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, vol. 3, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995), 479.