Isaiah 5, 1-4
Something to read
The Song of the Vineyard
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.
“Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
What more could have been done for my vineyard
than I have done for it?
when I looked for good grapes,
why did it yield only bad?
New Revised Standard Version
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
Advent is not only the time of preparation for the Nativity of Jesus; it is also a time when the Church turns her thoughts to the return of Christ and the judgement He will bring – a heady theological subject indeed!
Of course, while not a popular theme, it is one that cannot be avoided as the pages of Scripture reveal; they are replete with Words of Warning.
Today’s reading describes a parable of pastoral contentment: Yahweh has provided the perfect conditions for His beloved Israel to fulfil her destiny as a fecundent vineyard: fertile hillsides; earnest endeavour; choicest vines; adequate protection and well-oiled machinery.
The circumstances are perfect to facilitate the potential for a ‘crop of good grapes’. Indeed ‘what more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?’ asks Isaiah, speaking as Yahweh’s mouthpiece. And yet, he says, ‘When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?’.
The Lord could not have done more for Israel as a nation; His love for her was unyielding, even in the face of her defiance and disobedience. Surely, this would enable them to ‘be and act as His people’, as much as He was ‘their God’? Sadly, we know that despite the Lord’s generosity Israel did not fulfil her potential, but rather ‘yielded only bad fruit’.
But what of us? Surely, too, the Lord has provided the perfect conditions for us to yield a good harvest. The challenge is how we are choosing to engage and utilise all that the Lord has provided in order for us to yield good fruit. How are we making the most of what the Lord has provided for us?
Something to do
Consider using the season of Advent to choose a new and creative way of engaging with Him on a daily basis. Take up a new spiritual discipline and keep a journal and look for new fruit beginning to emerge.
Something to pray
Thank you that you have provided all that we need to grow in Christ likeness. Forgive us when we take your gifts, and all that you have done for us, for granted. Help us to embrace you and your provision in order that you may grow the fruit of your Spirit in us.
Andy Poultney is the Barking Area Youth Advisor.