Sweet or Sour Grapes

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‘What more could have been done’

 Isaiah 5:4

It is so very easy on Sundays to get caught up in the beauty, and the glory of worshipping our God and fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters in Christ, that we sometimes lose sight of the actual message that Father is trying to impart to us. So now it is Monday and we get time to reflect on the message behind all the poetry and music. There is a passage like this in Isaiah 5, it begins with beautiful poetry, a love song, and then, there is the reckoning.

Isaiah 5:1–4 (NKJV)

5 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard:

My Well-beloved has a vineyard

On a very fruitful hill.

2       He dug it up and cleared out its stones,

And planted it with the choicest vine.

He built a tower in its midst,

And also made a winepress in it;

So He expected it to bring forth good grapes,

But it brought forth wild grapes.

3       “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,

Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.

4       What more could have been done to My vineyard

That I have not done in it?

Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes,

Did it bring forth wild grapes?

The rest of the chapter down to verse 30 details in great length the consequences of both poor, and unjust behavior, as well as God’s response to such behavior. Bottom line, we really do not want to find ourselves in that kind of a situation.

As I explained when we started on Philippians, when someone in authority goes to the huge expense of sending a letter with instructions on how you are expected to live like a Christian in, what is for us, a secular or humanistic society, then there is an implied obligation that we would do our best to pay attention and make the necessary adjustments to our lifestyles. This is meant neither to be the imposition of a legalist approach, as to how we are to behave nor is it for the sake of conformity to a set of arbitrary church rules. It is, rather, wise advice from a man who has been there and done that. He had to learn his lessons the hard way and he is trying to help us avoid some of the same pitfalls in our walk with Jesus.

Just as in Paul’s day, many of us, particularly those who are relatively new to the church family, might not know how we are supposed to live a Christian lifestyle. During the course of our normal pre-Christian lives, we picked up all sorts of religious and cultural ideas along the way that in many cases are misplaced and often completely wrong.  This is why Paul’s advice remains as sound now as ever. Same too with respect to the vineyard in our reading. A different way of saying the same things just in beautiful poetry.

It’s all about our heart’s response to Jesus and our relationship with Him. If our heart is right with Him, then this is how we will yield the sweet fruits of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, rather than the bitter fruits of a wild and rebellious lifestyle.

The last word from Bob Gass 

Listen to this parable: “My well-beloved hath a vineyard. He fenced it, gathered out the stones, planted it with the choicest vine, built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress; and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes” (Isaiah 5:2). Next, God asks the question, “What more could I have done?”

You say, “What does it all mean?” The vineyard is a picture of the church. (See John 15:5.) We read, “He fenced it”—divine protection! David said, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalms 91:1–2). Then He “gathered out the stones.” He’s opened the way! The last stone was removed on Easter morning. Next, He “made a winepress”—that’s a picture of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “Ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8). Finally we read, “He planted it with the choicest vine.” What a picture of Jesus—your source, your strength, and your Savior.

Now after He did all this, what did He get back? Sour grapes! Have you met them? They’re smart enough to graduate, but foolish enough to say “no” to eternal life. They’re smart enough to split the atom, but foolish enough to reject the Sermon on the Mount. Have you accepted God’s gift of eternal life?

You may die unsaved, but you’ll never die unloved. Today God is asking you, “What more could I do?” Why don’t you give Him your life?[1]

[1] Bob Gass, A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998), 292.

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