Let me sing for my beloved
my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.
And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
What more was there to do for my vineyard,
that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?
And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;[a]
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down. – (Isaiah 5:1 – 5 ESV)
I would suggest to anyone who is interested in this post to read Isaiah 5 in its’ entirety. The point that Isaiah is making is; that God had invested heavily in his people Israel. Yahweh had sown good seed in seemly good soil and the fruit of his labors was evident. But, sadly God’s vineyard was being neglected by his people. The Old Testament is still valuable to New Testament believers today. In fact it was written for our instruction so that we would not follow the same rebellious patterns as God’s covenant people, Israel did. (1 Corinthians 10:11)
In the New Testament book of Hebrews chapter 6 verses 7 – 8 we read these alarming words:
For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6: 7 – 8 ESV)
God as our gracious benefactor, and faithful covenant keeping LORD, is giving New Testament believers a warning much like the people of ancient Israel. This is a warning not to take his grace toward us for granted. We are warned not to neglect such a great salvation. In these clear warnings he is not telling us to try harder to be good – but to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and dependency on Him.
“…how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard,”- (Hebrews 2:3 ESV)
Our heavenly Father has given to all believers his Son Jesus to make intercession on our behalf. Because of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead – we now have an advocate with the Father. He has also given us the Holy Spirit to assist us in this life to enable us to overcome sin. Even though we will only obtain sinless perfection in heaven, we can experience great freedom in this life.
Concerning the church in America: we are standing at a crossroads. We must decide if we are going to surrender to our surrounding culture or the Kingdom of God. Homosexual and heterosexual sin and abortion is abounding in our land. Un-biblical divorce and same-sex marriage are being ignored by many and embraced by some in the Church. Many of us (not all) have not actively sought out justice for the poor. And, to our shame, many of us lack compassion and have neglected our call to share the gospel with a hurting world. All of the sins mentioned above can be forgiven if we are willing to recognize them as sins, turn from them, and ask for forgiveness. God’s mercy and grace is more powerful than our sin.
Has the hedge of protection been removed from our nation as a result of moral compromise in the Church? It seems so. Judgement for rejecting the grace of God starts with the people of God (1 Peter 4:17.) God has done everything to cultivate his vineyard (the Church.) God’s wrath against sin came upon Jesus on the cross so that we wouldn’t have to experience it. But, we as New Testament believers can fall under God’s judgement or discipline for refusing his grace, and continuing in sin. I believe God is presently disciplining his Church so that we won’t have to be judge with the world. It’s time that we (starting with me) show our gratitude for the mercy and grace we’ve been given.
Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
I set watchmen over you, saying,
‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’
But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’
Therefore hear, O nations,
and know, O congregation, what will happen to them.
Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people,
the fruit of their devices,
because they have not paid attention to my words;
and as for my law, they have rejected it. – (Jeremiah 6:16-19 ESV)