Introduction: The book of Isaiah was written like a miniature Bible. The first 39 chapters (like the OT) are filled with judgment upon immoral and idolatrous nation. Judah has sinned, the surrounding nations have sinned, and God must judge them because of their sin. The final 27 chapters (like the N.T.) are filled with a message of hope through a Savior that must bear a cross. Isaiah’s ministry spanned four kings of Judah and lasted about forty years. He starts out in Chapter 1 calling them a sinful nation – vs. 4
I. The Portrait of the Vineyard – vs. 1
The interpretation of this story is found in verse 7.
The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.
The tribe of Judah was the pleasant plant.
But because of their moral depravity, their political corruption, and their spiritual idolatry, Isaiah warned them of God’s coming judgment.
I want to draw an application from this passage.
I want to make a New Testament application from this Old Testament passage.
We know from verse 7 that the vineyard in this parable is the nation of Israel.
But when we get to the New Testament book of I Corinthians, we find that the church is also a vineyard.
The “beloved” in verse 1 is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the founder and Savior of the Church.
For the message this morning, we are going to look at the vineyard as the church, and the choice plants as those that are in the church.
1 Corinthians 3
- 5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
- 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
- 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
- 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
- 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
The statement in vs. 1 My beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill reminds me of John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
II. The Preparing of the Vineyard – vs. 2
Notice the work and preparation that went into this vineyard.
It was no accident; it wasn’t a coincidence.
This was planned; it was on purpose.
It involved an enormous amount of thought.
A. The Parameters – vs. 2 And he fenced it…
There was no question in anybody’s mind where the vineyard started and where it stopped.
There was no question where the lines were drawn; there were boundaries and landmarks firmly in place.
B. The Purging – vs. 2 …and gathered out the stones thereof…
He took out anything that would hinder their growth.
All the obstacles that would prevent them from having a healthy and fertile place to grow.
He gave them maximum advantage with nothing to thwart their ability to take root.
C. The Planting – vs. 2 …and planted it with the choicest vines…
Indicates a Sovereign placement.
Of all the vineyards that vine could have been planted in, God allowed it to be planted THERE.
This is a picture of His individual touch on each plant; His loving and tender eyes saw you and chose you.
Jesus said it like this to His disciples:
- John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
D. The Protection – vs. 2 …and built a tower therein…
The tower was where the watchman stood guard over the vineyard.
He could see the thieves and the robbers from there.
He could see the enemy that would harm the vineyard.
He could see the little foxes from up there.
- Song of Solomon 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
E. The Plans – vs. 2 …and made a winepress therein…
The plan of the husbandman was to produce a crop of grapes that could become a profitable commodity.
The grapes have many ways they can benefit the husbandman, such as for food, for preserves, from its juice.
The winepress was built in preparation for the day that the grapes would be harvested and fulfil their purpose.
III. The Problem of the Vineyard – vs. 2 “…and it brought forth wild grapes.”
The problem with the vineyard is that when it should bring forth grapes, it brought forth wild grapes.
You will find “wild grapes” found in the Scripture only twice, and both times is here in verses 2 and 4.
The Hebrew word for “wild grapes” is the word be-oo-sheem’ which means stinking or worthless things, stinkberries
These wild grapes have no purpose or usefulness.
You cannot do anything with them.
Doing some research, I discovered that wild grapes have thicker skin than regular grapes.
I also discovered they they are also very bitter and unusable.
They are almost impossible to tell apart at a glance.
Matthew Henry wrote, “Wild grapes are the fruits of the corrupt nature, fruit according to the crabstock, not according to the engrafted branch, from the root of bitterness… Wild grapes are hypocritical performances in religion, that look like grapes, but are sour or bitter, and are so far from being pleasing to God that they are provoking… Counterfeit graces are wild grapes” (Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 1,086).
After all that time, that planning, the preparation, the husbandman discovered that his crop had failed.
All that time, and expense, and effort had been wasted.
According to verse 7, God was looking for justice and judgment, but only found oppression.
He was looking for righteousness, but only found the cries of pain, violence and bloodshed.
Isaiah outlines six “woes,” naming the six sins that have provoked God’s anger and brought His judgment upon the land. These six “woes” describing the wild grapes of Isaiah’s song could be summarized as:
- pride, arrogance, greed, covetousness, and extortion (Isaiah 5:8–10)
- drunkenness, revelry, self-indulgence and ignoring God (verses 11–17)
- carelessness, hardheartedness, and sacrilegious mockery (verses 18–19)
- deception and perversion (verse 20)
- pride and conceit (verse 21)
- injustice and corruption (verses 22–25).
V. The Punishing of the Vineyard – vs. 5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard…”
The punishment came from several places:
A. From Outside – vs. 5 “I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up…”
B. From Within – vs. 6a “it shall not be pruned, nor digged: but there shall come up briers and thorns”
C. From Above – vs. 6b “…I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.”
The rain is a picture of life-giving water; revival, refreshment, the blessings of God.
God promised to withhold His blessings and let the vineyard dry up and become completely worthless.
He goes on to explain the results of when His anger and wrath is kindled against His people. (vss. 25-30)
I know this passage of Scripture is written to the tribe of Judah.
I know the interpretation of these verses are talking about Israel, Judah and was given to Isaiah for them.
But I believe with all my heart that we are given these verses for our own admonition.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church of Corinth of God’s judgment on the nation of Israel as a warning.
- 1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
I believe that this church a fruitful hill.
God has put a fence around us.
He’s gathering out the stones.
He’s planted it with the choicest vines.
He’s put a tower in the midst.
He’s build a winepress, and He’s looking for fruit.
I pray to God He doesn’t find WILD GRAPES.
I pray He doesn’t remove the hedge and break down the wall and let the enemy in.
I pray He doesn’t allow the destruction from within due to the lack of pruning or digging.
I pray He doesn’t close up the windows of Heaven that there be no rain.
God said in verse 3 and 4 – What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it?
I have no idea what the Calvinist do with this passage.
You have a choice.
In this song – this parable – this passage, every plant in the vineyard produced WILD GRAPES.
But you have a choice.
Surely in this church, there can be someone that will not fit the description of WILD GRAPES?
Will you produce the fruit that God desires, and God has made provision for, or will you produce WILD GRAPES?
The difference between WILD GRAPES and good grapes is something down deep inside.
If it is not addressed, changed, your life will produce WILD GRAPES.