Sunday, March 4, 2012
Isaiah Chapter 5
- “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.”
- Isaiah is singing about the one he loves... God...
- God had a vineyard... Israel. He moved them to a rich land. Remember when they were getting ready to move into the Promised Land?
- In Exodus 3:8, God is speaking to Moses about going to Egypt to free the Israelites. “So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey...”
- God brought His people to this fertile land... In Numbers 13, the scouts went into the land to see what it held for them. “...They cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes so large that it took two of them to carry it on a pole between them!...” (vs. 23)
- Can you imagine? Good grief! Those are some massive grapes! But... point being... the land was incredibly fertile. Great things were growing here. All the Israelites had to do was walk in and take over.
- John 15:1-17
- “He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines....”
- God prepared the land for them. When Israel went in to conquer the land, they moved into already built cities and already plowed fields. God went before them and cleared all the oppositions from their path. Every time they prayed, they won the battle... with little to no loss of Israelite life.
- 40 years prior to Israel actually entering the land, they were brought to the place to enter in... And instead, they turned away in fear. So for 40 years, they wandered in a circle in the wilderness.
- But when it came back around again, those that went up, were a new generation, with ready and willing hearts. They were the “best vines” Grown in the adversity of the desert, and brought up under the tuition of the law.
- Jeremiah 4:3-4
- “...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.”
- This section... really brings a lot of this home...
- The watchtower could be the prophets and the kings... There to watch over God's people. Or it could be God's presence since the tabernacle was set up in the middle of the camp all the time. Or it could be looking forward to Christ.
- Whatever it is... it is someone who is keeping watch over the vineyard. Someone is there to sound the alarm when danger approaches. (Which really makes me think of the prophets warning of future destruction...)
- The winepress... Oh boy... The crushing and bruising of the fruit of the vineyard in order to make a new product...
- This could refer to the tribulations that Israel would face... a nation being made into the kind of people God wanted.
- However, Isaiah 53:5 rings more true for me here.
- “But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”
- The fruit of Israel crushed and beaten so a new covenant could be formed...
- Jesus has been called “the rock of our salvation.” The winepress carved into the rocks.
- Rocks are foundational. Jesus was also called the cornerstone. The stone whereby the entire structure's building was dictated.
- Carved into the law and the prophets. A place made in the foundations of the faith, for the creation of the new covenant.
- All this preparation for this great work... all so that there could be fruit among the lives of the Israelites.
- In Mark 12, Jesus speaks of the vineyard again.
- “A man planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head. The next servant he sent was killed. Others he sent were either beaten or killed, until there was only one left—his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, 'Surely they will respect my son. 'But the tenant farmers said to one another, 'Here comes the heir to this estate. Let's kill him and get the estate for ourselves!' So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard. What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do? I'll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others...” (vs. 1-9)
- God did EVERYTHING for his vineyard...
- “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?
- But alas, all that grew were bitter grapes. God kept waiting on something great, something wonderful to grow in the vineyard that He had literally given everything for... He had created the perfect environment. The perfect pathway to an abundant harvest. The whole process was created specifically to His purpose. But to no avail. The harvest was still bitter. Unusable for the new product.
- Israel continually turned away from God. Continually looked to something else for their strength and help.
- In the Mark verse, it says they wanted the estate for themselves. They didn't want to have someone over them... they wanted to do their own thing.
- I was reading a book by A.W. Tozer this week... “The Knowledge of the Holy.” I want to share just a little part of it here.
- It was talking about how we as created beings are totally dependent upon our Creator because we owe our very existence to Him. Whereas He as an uncreated Being... owes nothing to anyone or anything.
- “In this utter dependence of all things upon the creative will of God lies the possibility for both holiness and sin. One of the marks of God's image in man is his ability to exercise moral choice. The teaching of Christianity is that man chose to be independent of God and confirmed his choice by deliberately disobeying a divine command. This act violated the relationship that normally existed between God and His creature; it rejected God as the ground of existence and threw man back upon himself. Thereafter he became not a planet revolving around the central Sun, but a sun in his own right, around which everything else must revolve.”
- In doing so, man put himself, ABOVE God. “Sin has many manifestations but its essence is one. A moral being, created to worship before the throne of God, sits on the throne of his Selfhood and from that elevated position declares 'I AM.'”
- The nation of Israel basically dethroned God and placed themselves on the throne instead. They cut themselves off from the vine. The God to which they owed everything! Even to their very existence! They threw to the wayside and instead... started to focus on Self. What THEY wanted... what THEY thought they needed. How great THEY were.
- The God who had given them everything, was discarded as a child would discard a toy they have grown tired of. And God... is not to be regarded in such a light manner.
- So now... what about you?
- Christ's coming has perfectly plowed the path for you to follow. The ground is cleared of all obstacles for your salvation. Nothing to hold you back. He has provided all the nutrients and sustenance you need.
- He's provided a watchtower over you. The Holy Spirit that comes to indwell in you. It is a check to your conscience and a guide for your life. That still, small voice that whispers direction to your soul.
- Christ was crushed and bruised for YOU. He bled it all out and died so He could found the new covenant with you.
- Israel rejected God... they killed his son... so now, the doors are opened to a new people. He will lease His vineyard to new workers...
- And now... all the conditions are perfect... and He's waiting... What kind of fruit will you produce?
- Will you reject the warnings from the watchtower? Will you turn away from the pruning of the husbandman? Will your fruit be unusable because you have rejected the nutrients provided for you?
- What kind of fruit will your vine bear? God knows what kind of fruit we CAN become. We have a choice as to where we put down our roots. What kind of nourishment we accept from Him and how much we take from places that will destroy our growth potential. He has a place for each of us in the big scheme of things... but will we fill our piece of His puzzle?
- Hebrews 9:1-10:18
- Romans 3:21-28
- Luke 13:6-9