I AM the vine.
Long before Jesus took on the imagery of the vineyard for Himself, God had been using vineyard imagery to communicate His heart to the people.
The Song of Vineyard is nestled in Isaiah 5:1-7. This delicate yet ferocious poem provides the most detailed description of caring for vineyards in the Scripture.
The syllables capture…
God’s tender care
God’s intimate involvement
God’s long-term commitment
God’s fierce love
God’s hot jealousy
Watch as a startling turn of events unfold …
“I’ll sing a ballad to the one I love,
a love ballad about his vineyard:
The one I love had a vineyard,
a fine, well-placed vineyard.
He hoed the soil and pulled the weeds,
and planted the very best vines.
He built a lookout, built a winepress,
a vineyard to be proud of.
He looked for a vintage yield of grapes,
but for all his pains he got junk grapes.”
This vintner breathes passion about his vineyard. For him, shortcuts are not an option. Rather than use inferior seeds, he invests in shoots from world-class vines that will yield the finest grapes.
The rocky soil is cleared of enough so the tendrils can thrive, but not too many. The remaining rocks will force the roots to go deep, the grapes to develop their multidimensional flavor.
With the cleared stones, the vintner constructs a tower. This land, this place, this vineyard is one he will inhabit and defend for years to come.
The winepress is hewed right in the middle of the field, not tucked inside a building like modern times. This increases efficiency and ensures the grapes won’t incur as much damage during transportation.
All this is done for “the one I love”. Yes, you the beloved.
Love is the motivation behind the actions of the vintner and the actions of Yahweh.
The vintner loves his vineyard and Yahweh loves His people.
He prepares. He cares. He prunes. He nurtures.
Like vineyard care, for God, it’s all a labor of love—a love to fruition.
A love to fullness of who you and I were created to be.
Yet something has gone awry. Isaiah 5:3-7 continues:
“Now listen to what I’m telling you,
you who live in Jerusalem and Judah.
What do you think is going on
between me and my vineyard?
Can you think of anything I could have done
to my vineyard that I didn’t do?
When I expected good grapes,
why did I get bitter grapes?
“Well now, let me tell you
what I’ll do to my vineyard:
I’ll tear down its fence
and let it go to ruin.
I’ll knock down the gate
and let it be trampled.
I’ll turn it into a patch of weeds, untended, uncared for—
thistles and thorns will take over.
I’ll give orders to the clouds:
‘Don’t rain on that vineyard, ever!’”
Do you get it? The vineyard of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
is the country of Israel.
All the men and women of Judah
are the garden he was so proud of.
He looked for a crop of justice
and saw them murdering each other.
He looked for a harvest of righteousness
and heard only the moans of victims.”
This is not the story of a neglectful vintner but of an involved, caring one. The vintner judges the fruit as worthless. God judges the people and calls them to return to Him—to be a people marked by the savory righteousness.
The vineyard going wild is threatened if the fruits of holiness don’t blossom. A vineyard gone wild takes years to recover.
Isaiah uses the vineyard—something treasured and crucial to the life of the Israelites—to call God’s people back to Himself.
Why does God uses vineyard imagery to reveal His heart?
Because God isn’t afraid to get His hands dirty when it comes to bringing forth fruitfulness in our lives.
He associates stinky barnyard animals, wild vines, buzzing bees to reveal His fierce love.
That’s how much He loves you.
That’s how passionate He is about your holiness.
That’s how committed He is to your righteousness.
He’s invested everything in you.
So He keeps calling you back to Himself—any and every way He can.
- Watch. Session 6: Finding Ourselves in God (10:42) on the DVD.
- Write. Respond session 6 of homework in the workbook (pages 102-117).
- Read. Chapter 4.9 – Full Circle (pages 179-202) in the book.
- Interact in the Private Facebook Group. Share what ideas or phrases that catch your attention. What God is challenging or showing you through the material. How we can pray for you. And of course, you’re welcome to send in quirky questions, too, since I’ll be interacting with them throughout our time together.
- Join me on Facebook Live this week.
What does it mean for you to abide in the vine? How have you seen God calling you back to Himself?