Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.(Isaiah 5:1-6)
The Gardener in Isaiah’s parable, is God the Father, the original gardener. In Creation he prepared a garden for mankind, which was perfectly suited to accommodate man, setting the first man up, with his wife for total happiness, success, and peace . This full wholeness and satisfaction that they were meant to enjoy embodies the truest and deepest meaning of the Hebrew word, Shalom.
The gardener wanted fruit, i.e. faithful loyalty and trust, and reciprocal love from the couple which he planted in the garden.
Centuries later the Creator made a new nation, Israel, out of an ancient, barren couple of idolaters from the land we now call Iraq. God called Abram and Sarai to believe in him and promised the couple that of their loins would come a mighty nation and one who would bless all of the families of the earth.
Against all natural law, Abraham,Isaac and Jacob had children , solely due to the power and promise of God. God blessed Israel even when they languished in captivity in Egypt for centuries. They steadily increased in spite of Satanic attempts to destroy them. Eventually they came out of Egypt, in the Exodus, into the Land God had promised to give unto Abraham and his seed forever.
Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river.(Psalm 80:8-11)
Israel was his choice vine, and the Holy land was his vineyard.
The Gardener put a fence around Israel, saving her from extinction, miraculously delivering her from nations stronger and mightier than she. Time and again Israel experienced deliverance from sure ruin, for God had been a shield and a fortress to her.
He set up a Tower over her, appointing Prophets, Priests and mighty Kings and Judges to safeguard her. Like no other nation Israel knew what was coming, having a constant Divine perspective granted to her through her prophets.
He pulled out the rocks in the soil, anything that would inhibit growth; Idols, the occult, false prophets, and all of the other accursed burdens which kept the surrounding nations in such deep darkness.
The Gardener set a winepress in the midst of his Vineyard; for as no other nation had never experienced, the Divine Vineyard-man cleared a piece of real estate in the center of Jerusalem, sanctified it and gave holy blue prints for a holy house, which He descended from heaven to inhabit, dwelling in the midst of Israel.
That winepress;the temple and its apparatus became a source of the forgiveness of sins, through the priestly ministry of mercy to al who drew near according the Divine ordinances.
In that Holy Temple, the Most High instructed a people, teaching them by his Word, and making them wiser than all of the nations round about. Furthermore the Torah of God was taught in all of the hamlets and cities of Israel so that all of the people of Israel had access to the Word of the LORD.
Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.(Deuteronomy 33:29)
For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?(Deuteronomy 4:7)
The Parable of the Vineyard makes this simple point- all of those preparations and benefits were designed towards a certain end; that Israel should bear fruit unto God. What is the fruit he looked for?
The fruit of Repentance, Love,Faithful loyalty, and Righteousness.
But the Gardener came looking for good grapes, he received only wolfsbane, sour, bitter, uneatable wild grapes.
in verse 7 the Prophet resorts to wordplay, puns to show the disappointment of the Gardener,
God expected of the people He so favored, ‘Justice’, (misphat) but instead he only reaped (mispach) , ‘bloodshed’, the shedding of innocent blood. He also anticipated “righteousness” (tsedeqah) but has instead heard only an oppressed “cry” (tse‘aqah).
He calls upon his hearers to judge for themselves;’what would you do if after all of that care and preparation, you only received such ‘fruit’?
Furthermore, we hear from the LORD in this song a plaintive ‘What more could I have done?’.
The moral of this parable; why did God take such pains to expose you and I to the truth of Christianity? For example, I have often thought , ‘why did God allow me to be born in the United States of America a land steeped in Evangelical Christianity? My parents weren’t evangelicals but they thought me of God, and showed me that there would be a judgment and that there was a Loving Savior, Jesus. Why did God put me in such a position?
He did it to bring me to a point in life, where I would bear the fruit of repentance, faith, and even true love for God(who loved me first).
What is going to happen to those who after all that Divine preparation, still bear no fruit?