God’s Expectant Produce
“Let me sing now for my well-beloved a song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill. He dug it all around, removed its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. And He built a tower in the middle of it and also hewed out a wine vat in it; then He expected it to produce good grapes, but it produced only worthless ones” (Isaiah 5:1-7 – vs. 1-2).
God has done an awesome work in the lives of His people, if we will only recognize it and walk in it faithfully. He plants us where He wants us to produce good fruit for His glory, and He provides everything needed for us to be productive vines, sweet and aromatic as the best of wines. He leaves nothing to chance. All that is needful is available to us.
“…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? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones? …” (Vs. 3-6).
The question is, are we recognizing and rightly using His supply to reach our potential in Christ? As I consider this question for myself, I know that in areas of my life where my faith is strong in Him and where I am surrendered to His work in my life, I am very productive and seeing good fruit bear forth. In other areas where there is struggle to believe and, thus, to surrender, the fruit born is less than desirable. Why is that? Verse 7 suggests a few things to consider.
“For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel and the men of Judah His delightful plant. Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress.” (Vs. 7)
He looks for justice: are we producing that in life? Our idea of justice is not always the same as God’s idea. We see this in Romans 12 where we are advised:
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. ‘But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Vs. 14-21).
Herein is justice: to trust in the Lord’s justice, doing good to all men wherever it is in our power to do so, even when they do harm to us. That does not mean we never back away from those who harm us. In His hometown, Jesus walked out of the crowd that threatened life and limb, and I do not recall that He returned to that place again during His ministry. He told the disciples to knock the dust off their feet as they leave a people who refuse their message and work among them, a testimony against them. We are to trust God to deal with the injustices through the means He provides. Leaving the insults done to us in the hands of the righteous Judge who sees and knows the heart of every man while we trust Him to deal with the injustice; trusting Him to judge righteously so that we may continue to do good, reaps a reward we cannot bear out through our own vengeance.
To seek our own vengeance, repaying harm done to us perpetuates sin. It does not work the righteousness of God. He has provided avenues and laws through which punishment is given to those who do evil. Trusting God to use the rule of law is not vengeance on our part, but His rod of man used for discipline (2 Samuel 7:14). Desire for vengeance will only keep us crying out in distress. But a focus toward doing good to others despite harm done to us while trusting in and waiting for the Lord to intervene keeps us producing good fruit to the glory of His name.
The ingredient I see in all of this that assures good fruit? “Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday” (Psalm 37). Hum, looks like a return to the Psalm 37 study.
Father, equip us to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; to not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Empower us to cease from anger and forsake wrath; knowing that fretting leads only to evildoing. Evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while, Lord, and the wicked man will be no more. Though we look carefully for his place, he will not be there, for You either will have removed him or changed him by Your grace. You promise that the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. This is our hope and song as we look to You in faith, knowing and receiving Your provision to produce good grapes that bring pleasure to You, even when being crushed in the wine presses of life. In Jesus, show us Your glory. AMEN