Isaiah 5:1-7 (NRSV)
Chapter 5Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. Verse 2He 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; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. Verse 3And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. Verse 4What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? Verse 5And 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. Verse 6I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. Verse 7For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry!
As the prophet Isaiah’s song begins, everything looks good for the friend’s vineyard—the field has been prepared and planted; everything is in place for an abundant harvest. But now wild grapes have grown where sweet grapes should have been; the vineyard will be torn up and left to become desolate. Now comes Isaiah’s sobering surprise. The vineyard is really God’s own people and the destruction of the vineyard will be their fate for the injustices that have taken over God’s beloved people.
What might we learn from Isaiah’s song? Have we become complacent, and can we see how we may have become complicit with the injustices rampant in our world? Might Isaiah be talking to us? When we look at the world around us, may God open our eyes to see how we might be beacons of God’s light shining into a world that at times seems very dark.
Gracious God, you know how far we often fall from bearing the good fruit you designed us to produce. May these words of Isaiah resonate in us to draw us closer to you. May your Spirit work in us to produce the fruit you desire. Amen.