God’s Expectations (Life Journal – July 2, 2015)

Scripture

I will sing for the one I love
    a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard
    on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones
    and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it
    and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
    but it yielded only bad fruit. (Isaiah 5: 1-2)

Observation

  • Isaiah 5:7 makes clear this is about Israel is the vineyard – who is “I” and the beloved?
    “The vineyard of the Lord Almighty
        is the nation of Israel,
    and the people of Judah
        are the vines he delighted in.
    And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
        for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.”
  • Echoed in Jesus’ description of the vine and the branches in John 15
  • “I” is singing about the Lord whom he loves
  • The crop of good grapes is justice and righteousness
  • The Lord has worked, labored for the good of the vineyard
  • There is a natural order here – preparation of the ground, installation of the facilities,  needed for the vineyard and its fruit and then an expectation of fruit

Application

One of the great truths of the biblical witness (and something I mentioned in a recent sermon) is that God is not distant and uninterested but active and involved in human affairs. Including mine!

I am not a farmer but I understand the analogy and the expectation of God that fruit would come from the sacrifice, the effort, the love expended in behalf of the vineyard. God has blessed me, worked on me, resourced me, sacrificed for me in Christ.

These sobering words spoken to Israel and Judah are just as sobering to me. How have I borne fruit from God’s efforts for me? How have I used who I am, whom God has made me, to produce a crop of justice and righteousness?

Something worth considering today…

Prayer

Lord of the Vineyard, thank you for your love and for the countless ways you have worked for me and in me and on me. Give me a heart and mind to see where you have prepared the soil of my heart and life and  where you have built what I need to be fruitful. I confess that I have not always been a fruitful vineyard, not always produced a crop of justice and righteousness with what you have given me and done for me. May I be a fruitful vine today in the name of the One whose vine I am, Jesus the True Vine. Amen.

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