Speaking to the Soul – February 22


The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence. Isaiah 5:7

There is only one reason why you would plant a vineyard. It would be because you wanted grapes. No one has ever planted a vineyard for any other reason. You certainly wouldn’t plant one for their natural beauty, or because you want to make use of their wood which struggles to burn. This chapter poignantly describes God’s desperate disappointment with his people. They were planted to be fruitful. He had gone to great lengths to prepare his vineyard, planting it on a fertile hill. God then ploughed the land, cleared its stones and planted one of the best of the vines. What could possibly go wrong?

But the outcome was appalling. The result had been the exact opposite of what God had been looking for. Instead of the justice that he longed to see, he saw oppression; instead of righteousness there was murder. God had given his people free will and they chose to use it to oppose him rather than obey him. The most amazing fact is that God didn’t give up on his people. He had given them every opportunity to thrive and they had thrown it all back in God’s face.

The prophecy of Isaiah is an amazing study of the love and faithfulness of God. Disappointed as God clearly was, he didn’t reject his people but looked for new ways of blessing them. We may feel that we haven’t acted as badly as the nation of Israel, but the truth is that we have all sinned. We have all been a disappointment to God. He has given us every advantage and time and again we have ignored him and gone our own way. But God doesn’t give up on us. In Isaiah 40:11, we see a beautiful picture of the persistent and gentle love of God for his people: “He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.” That’s our God! He loves us so much that he has high expectations for us. He longs to see us being fruitful. However, he doesn’t give up on us when we fail but looks for every opportunity to shower us with his love.

In what ways do you think that you have disappointed God’s expectations?

Loving God, thank you that you never give up on me. I confess my sins and ask you to help me to live closer to you day by day. Amen