My sister-in-law’s husband was a farmer. He’s retired now and only raises a small number of cattle, but he owned and worked thousands of acres of land.
While many people think farming is haphazard, Dwight’s brand of agriculture was scientific. He knew exactly how deep to plant the seed. He knew how much seed would go into the ground per acre and he calculated the amount of corn or soybeans he could expect to harvest for each acre.
Most years, Dwight’s efforts resulted in excellent yields and a good income. Since farming relies on the right conditions and since those conditions are unpredictable, there are years in which returns are less than expected. In times of drought, disaster is always a possibility. Then, there can be a grave disappointment.
God told the prophet Isaiah about the vineyard he had built. He built it on the best soil, prepared the ground well on a lush hill and removed its stones. He made improvements to the land and built a vat for the juice he hoped to produce. He expected the best grapes to come from that vineyard, but instead when the harvest came found the worst.
What a disappointment! What more could he have done? Where had he failed?
The vineyard God built was the nation of Israel (Isaiah 5:7). God expected Israel to become a nation of righteousness, but the people had other ideas. Israel failed to honor its God. It should have become a light to others. It wasn’t God’s fault that Israel chose the wrong road. He had done everything he could to protect and provide for his people. They just walked away from him. God had done all he could to help Israel. He hadn’t failed, the people had.
God’s words of woe to Israel are instructive to us today. Many of the mistakes Israel made and the consequences it suffered are things of which people are currently guilty. Israel was fond of alcohol (Isaiah 5:11). It became a nation of liars (Isaiah 5:18). Israel adopted a desire for evil instead of good and frequently confused the two (Isaiah 5:20). They were wise in their own eyes, meaning they thought they were smarter than God himself (Isaiah 5:21). They were people who would make it appear the wicked were right for offering or accepting a bribe (Isaiah 5:23).
Sound familiar? Then it’s time for us to repent and obey God before our nation suffers the same fate as Israel and Judah.