Daily Devotional Isaiah 5:1–7
There is nothing quite like the taste of fresh grapes. They are sweet, juicy, and refreshing. I don’t have first-hand experience of growing grapes, but I’ve been told it can be a fickle crop that needs constant attention.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Grapes were—and still are—one of the most common agricultural products in Israel. In today’s reading, Isaiah envisions God as the owner of a vineyard. Planting a new vineyard was an especially arduous task. Vineyards were typically planted on a hillside (v. 1). They needed to be cleared of stones (v. 2). In an age before tractors or other mechanical help, this was backbreaking work. The stones would then be used to build a fence around the vineyard and a watchtower for protection (v. 2). Planting a vineyard was also a long-term investment. It takes a few years before a vine will grow eatable grapes.
In Isaiah’s song, God has done this work skillfully and carefully. He has tended His vineyard with the utmost care and patiently waited for grapes to grow. Instead of good grapes, His vineyard only produced rotten ones (v. 2). In this metaphor, Israel is the vineyard. God had planted them in the land of Canaan and provided for them. Yet, they consistently rebelled against Him (v. 7). The leaders did not uphold justice but oppressed the weak and vulnerable (v. 7). This parable makes clear that their failure was not because of neglect on God’s part. Because of their rebellion, they would be judged (vv. 5–6).
Thankfully, this is not the end of the story. God promised: “I will again plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them” (Amos 9:15). God does not give up on His people.
>> Jesus taught that the way to live in right relationship with God was to stay connected to Him as the true vine (John 15:1–8). How are you cultivating and nourishing your connection to the Lord and His church?
Pray with Us
Lord, we ask You to grant us perseverance and selflessness in forming connections with a local church body. Draw us near to You and near to Your people. Teach us to love Your people.