The prophet Isaiah sang a parable (yes, the first “singing preacher”) in Isaiah chapter 5. The parable was about a vineyard, a vineyard whose owner did everything to make the vineyard fruitful. The owner cleared out the field and planted the best vines. He built a fence around the vineyard to keep out the animals. He built a winepress just waiting to turn the bountiful harvest of grapes into glorious wine. But as he looked for a harvest of good grapes, it only yielded bad fruit.
The parable is obviously about Israel, the people of God. God had done everything to make them a fruitful people. He cleared out the Promised Land and built a hedge of protection around them as a nation. He blessed them with peace and prosperity. He gave them the Law and the prophets. He had every reason to expect good fruit, but at harvest time, He was greatly disappointed. In Isaiah’s song, the disappointed vineyard owner tore down the wall and let the briers and wild animals take over the vineyard because “He looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress” (Isaiah 5.7). Justice and righteousness are constant themes in the prophetic material.
Today, we should read Isaiah 5 and see ourselves as the vineyard in Isaiah’s song. Surely, the Lord has been good to us, and He has given us everything that is required to bear good fruit. As He looks for a crop of good fruit in His vineyard, what does He find? It might be a courageous step of faith simply to ask the Lord that question in a time of prayer, to wait, and to listen for His response.