[SW350] 10/27/2018 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018
Texts: Isaiah 5, Jeremiah 12, etc.
I will sing a joyous song of the restoration of the vineyard of the Lord! But first, I must sing a song of ruin, a call to repentance, because God’s people are rebelling against Him and must repent in order to be restored.
Isaiah 5:1-7, 13
The Lord, who is Isaiah’s and my Beloved, planted a vineyard. The vineyard is God’s people, then and now — those who have believed into Jesus, and Jews who do not yet believe in Him today.
He established His vineyard on a fertile hill (5:1), prime farmland. He tilled it, removed the stones, and planted it with a grapevine, so it would produce a bright red grape, the most desirable and prized grape. He made sure that there was nothing to impede its growth and production.
He built a tower in the middle of it, where a watchman was posted (5:2). He hewed out a winepress in it. He provided everything needed for a productive vineyard.
Then He expected it to produce good grapes, because He is good and therefore it should have been good. But it produced only worthless ones (literally, “poisonous berries”).
The Lord speaks (5:3-4). And now, My people, judge between Me and My vineyard. What more could I have done for My vineyard? I did all that was needed in order for it to produce good grapes. Why, then did it produce poisonous berries instead? It certainly was not His fault.
But the fault lies with His people, who have rebelled against Him. Do you see that when you sin, you rebel against Him, personally? Rebellion always leads to ruin. I know it firsthand, from my own rebellion and my own ruin. But He gave me a song of restoration, when I repented!
Therefore, the Lord tells His people what He is going to do (5:5). He will judge His vineyard. He will assist in its destruction. He says, I will remove its hedge and break down its wall (protection), so it can be invaded. Its ground will be trampled by its invaders.
Oh, beloved! I was a rebellious one who was invaded, whose ground was trampled. It was the best thing that ever happened to me, because it led me to repent!
We know from history that the Lord opened the door for the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, to destroy His vineyard, in an invasion of Judah and Jerusalem that started in 605 BC and ended in 597 BC. Isaiah prophesied the invasion during his ministry, before he was murdered in 681 BC by the Jews who opposed him.
The Lord will lay waste (make desolate) His people (5:6). They will not be pruned, or hoed. He will not tend to His people. Briars and thorns will grow up in His abandoned vineyard. They will prick and wound His people. He will command the clouds not to rain, so His people dry up.
For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel (and all of God’s people), and the men of Judah the planting in which He took delight (5:7). He planted them for His pleasure and enjoyment!
Why will He judge them? Because they were His planting, He expected them to do justice (judge rightly) just as He does. But behold (a loud call to look and see), He saw them produce only bloodshed (oppression). He expected them to be righteous just as He is, but behold, they produced cries of distress (shrieks) when they abandoned Him and went after false gods. And the shrieks of their children were heard, as they were burned as sacrifices to satisfy those gods.
Do you see that when you rebel, you abandon Him? Do you see that He abandons you so you will cry out for Him to return?
He says, My people go into exile (separation from My presence) for their lack of knowledge (5:13). As it is among so many of His people today, they entirely lacked holy, intimate knowledge of Him. This is a lament.
How did this come about? Why, when He expected His people to produce good fruit, did they produce poisonous fruit?
Jeremiah 12:10, 21
He speaks through Jeremiah, saying, Many shepherds (false ones) have ruined My vineyard. They have trampled down My field. They have made it a desolate wilderness (12:10).
In the days of Jeremiah, His people were invaded and trampled by Nebuchadnezzar because of their stupid and foolish shepherds (Jeremiah 10:21, Zechariah 11:15). How did these false shepherds bring about such a thing?
They taught falsely, and prophesied falsely (Jeremiah 5:31). They said, “Peace, peace,” when there was no peace between the Lord and His people (Jeremiah 6:14). They did not exhort His people to stop sinning. They did not call them to repent. It is the same today.
The Lord laments, through Jeremiah —
Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?
The Lord did not send them, but they spoke; He did not speak to them, but they prophesied (Jeremiah 23:21). It is the same today.
Woe to such shepherds, who are destroying and scattering His people, so He will punish them, and those who love the words of corrupt prophets and priests (Jeremiah 23:1-2. 5:31).
The Lord paints a bleak picture, through Isaiah and Jeremiah! But there will come a time of restoration, says the Lord! And now I will sing of His restoration!
In that day, after 70 years of exile in Babylon have passed (Daniel 9:2, Jeremiah 25:11), He will restore His people. You who are in exile, He will restore you!
And when He restores His people, He will sing (Zephaniah 3:17), and His prophets will sing! On that day, they will sing of a vineyard that produces wine!
On that day, He will again be its keeper (Isaiah 27:3). He will continually water it, so it will not be damaged (it will not lack)! Oh, beloved, He will fill you with His living water, an endless source of eternal life (John 7:37-39)! He will give you His divine nature, and you will no longer rebel against Him —
Ezekiel 36:25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”
He will cause His people to take root, blossom, and sprout (27:4). They will produce what He expects! Then they will fill the whole world with fruit — His fruit!
But His people must repent —
The Lord says, in Isaiah 27:5, Let him rely on My protection (lay hold of My strength). He says, Make peace with Me! Make peace with Me! When He speaks twice like that, He means soon! O believer, if He commands me to tell you to make peace with Him, then you are not presently at peace with Him. Therefore, repent!
He has struck them, He has slain them, He has contended with them, He has banished them from His presence, He has driven them away (27:7-8). But He will forgive the sin of His people.
Repentance is not cheap, not a simple, “I am sorry,” nor an “I will not do it again, I promise.” You will do it again, as long as the sin nature remains alive and well in you. It was the same for me.
The Lord speaks it plainly in Isaiah 27:9. What is the full price of His pardon for sin? You must destroy all your altars and idols to false gods, completely pulverizing them until they are like chalk dust.
But you will say, I do not have any altars or any idols made of stone or metal or wood! The root of all false gods is the god of self, which always seeks what it wants and rejects what the Lord commands.
So, He waits for you to repent and ask Him to destroy your sin nature. Then the god of self, which produces poisonous berries rather than good grapes, will also be destroyed.
Then the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit will come and indwell you fully (John 14:23). Then you will become His vineyard once again. Then He will tend you, and you will produce His fruit!
Then the Lord and you and I will sing together!
Lord Jesus, I pray Your people would see themselves in this passage and would repent and turn back to you, and cry out for You to change their hearts. You will surely answer when they do, just as you answered me. Amen.