Grape vines on trellises Photo:© Pixabay
Israel As God's Vineyard
The picture of God as the owner of a vineyard occurs first in the Old Testament in ISAIAH 5:1-7 where we see the prophet speaking out a message from God to his chosen people Israel.
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. 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.
Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah, 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?
God's Sorrow At The Way His People Have Rebelled
It is a cry of sorrow from the heart of God at the way his children have ignored his commandments and broken the sacred covenant God had made with them, as verse 7 explains:
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.
The point of the vineyard is to produce juicy grapes and a beautiful vintage of sweet wine. Instead Israel had produced nothing but bitterness through oppression and violence. Because of their disobedience, God tells them through Isaiah what he is going to do with them:
God's Response To Israel's Rebellion
Now let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will tear down its hedges and let it be destroyed. I will break down its walls and let the animals trample it. I will make it a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns.I will command the clouds to drop no rain on it.