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.
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.
Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah,
you judge between me and my vineyard.
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?
–Isaiah 5:1-4 (italics added)
There’s been a major construction project going on outside my apartment since I moved here. Weeks were spent digging and pouring concrete for a foundation. Slowly but surely, a large building has emerged. I could not imagine all of the costs that go into such a project. One thing I do know—a great investment was made because they are expecting great returns. Imagine the investors’ disappointment if no one wanted to rent or buy these condominiums?
Isaiah describes something similar. The vineyard was used as an analogy to describe the costly investment God had made: premium land, removal of the stones, the best vines, a watchtower, and a winepress. These were perfect conditions for delicious fruit, yet the vineyard produced “bitter grapes.”
The vineyard, of course, represents God’s people. He had done so much for them—delivered them from Egyptian slavery, defeated their enemies, and gave them a land “flowing with milk and honey.” Despite all that God had done, His people forgot Him and no longer served him (“bitter grapes”).
God’s question was simple: what more could I have done for you? I believe this question is relevant for us here and now. Have you considered what God has done for you? Think of all the resources that God has made available to you (a printed Bible in a language you can understand, churches, pastors, Christian books, Bible study materials, online devotionals, etc). We have resources that previous generations could only dream of! We have no excuse to be spiritually stagnant or unfruitful.
It is true that God loves His children, however imperfect we are. The Bible clearly teaches, however, that God is disappointed with us if we are not fruitful. God is disappointed with you if you are not growing spiritually and are not using your talents/gifts to serve Him. What else can He do for you? It is time for you to take responsibility and make good use of what He has already given you.
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