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A Song of Sorrow

Isaiah - Lesson 6

We’ve been putting the puzzle pieces inside the framework of Isaiah and His times, so that we can see a whole picture of Isaiah’s prophecy. We looked at what Isaiah saw in chapter one which gave us a summary of the whole book. Then in chapters 2-4 we began to look at what Isaiah promised Judah – a Messiah and a Kingdom in which he would reign.

 

Today as we look at chapter 5, we finish that prophecy begun in chapter 2 given under the reign of King Jotham, the king who worshipped God himself, but did not lead his nation out of idolatry. He had every privilege and power to call for change and never did. How sad God must have been! These circumstances are the very thing that prompted Isaiah’s prophecy. In chapters 2-4, Isaiah was prophesying through words of promise and words of warning, trying to get the people’s attention and now in chapter 5 he tries another approach. Isaiah sings!

 

How have you been feeling as we’ve studied Isaiah? Tired of hearing all the warnings about sin? How must have Isaiah felt? He was trying anything to get their attention. So he breaks forth in this love ballad. It’s not a message of “don’t worry, be happy,” but a lament, a sad love song, over God’s vineyard that is not producing fruit. Let’s read…

 

The Song of the Vineyard: Verses 1-7

 

Isaiah sings a song for the one he loves. And who is that? Look at verse 7. The one who owns the vineyard is the Lord Almighty! He is the one whom Isaiah loves. The vineyard is the house of Israel, specifically Judah. What do we learn about God and his people through this parable in the form of a ballad?

1.     God planted his people in fertile soil.

2.     How did he care for them? Look at the verbs in verse 2 – He dug and cleared and planted. He built protection and got ready for harvest

3.     What did he expect? Good grapes.

4.     What did it yield? Bad grapes. Not just leaves with no fruit, but bad, wild grapes.

5.     Did he do all he could do for them?

          Verse 3 - He says to his people - you make the call here. You tell me what is wrong.

          Verse 4- What more could I have done? He made every provision for them to produce good

           fruit.

6.     Were God’s expectations to high? God’s expectations of his people are just and righteous. Therefore his expectations are just and righteous. He expects his people to bear fruit. Those who enjoy the privileges and blessings of being His children are expected to produce good fruit.

 

In John 15:8 Jesus says it clearly, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

So what does this say to us? We are not Judah, but we are his children. He has given us everything we need. He has provided everything we need to become oaks of righteousness a planting of the Lord to display his splendor. God gave us forgiveness through Jesus, His word to teach us, His Holy Spirit to give us understanding, His everlasting love and care. Are you receiving all he has for you to be fruitful?

7.     What did God do to Judah, because of their sin?

          Verses 5-6:

        Took away their protection – the enemy literally took back the land that had been given them by God. First Syria, then Assyria and finally Babylon.

        Left them uncared for – the land became a waste land – desolate as the enemy came and conquered them.

        Sent no rain on the land – as I understand this literally happened as there were no spring or fall rains on the promise land for about 1000 years. Look at that area today and see that much of it is still barren land.

          What God prophesied came to pass - He let his people 

          be taken into captivity and the land go to ruin.

 

BUT FOR GOD Grace!!!!

 

1.     His Judah – a remnant would survive to fulfill God’s plan of redemption

2.     For Us - We could experience captivity and desolation, except for the grace of God. As we walk in covenant relationship with our God through Jesus Christ, having been crucified with him, having put to death our flesh and now walking by the Spirit, we will bear fruit that will represent him. We will not experience captivity and desolation.

 

Isaiah goes on to identify some of those bad fruits- sins of his people. These are things we need to look at in our lives and our country’s and consider the implications of them. There are six “woes” in verses 8-23. A woe is an expression used in the time of disaster or mourning. They are what brings God sorrow, as he looks at Judah and are the reason for the disaster to follow.

 

Six Woes:

1.     Greed (Vs 8-10): the preoccupation of wanting more or something that somebody else has. That was literally what was happening. They were acquiring land and possessions and oppressing people along the way. The punishment would be famine. Greed is that insatiable thirst for more of  what the world has to offer. Colossians 3:5 equates greed to idolatry. When a person sets their heart upon what the world offers, they will be disappointed.

 

     Colossians 3:6 says that greed brings God sorrow.

 

     Does the need for more of what the world offers have a place in your heart?

 

2.     Drunkenness and Revelry (Vs 11-17): They were party animals, having nothing to do with the work of God. They were trying to find there joy and satisfaction or relief from life through man’s way – eat drink and be merry!   God wanted them to have purpose and direction to their life through Him! He would be the one who would satisfy their thirst. He is the living water who gives us life and the living water who flows through us, bringing us joy and satisfaction. Because of their sin of drunkenness they would go into captivity (Vs 13). Man would be humbled and God exalted. He is just and holy in his judgment (Vs15-16).

 

3.     A “care less” attitude about sin (Vs18-19): they are bound by sin -  in  fact they are carrying heavy loads of it. Not just trapped in sin, but mocking God’s warning of judgment – “Send it quickly.” They think they will get away with their sin. God will hold them to account.

 

 

4.     Deception (Vs 20): they are substituting man’ values for God’s moral standards – saying evil is good. There was an example on the news the other day as they reported the pregnancy of Katie Holmes. To quote the newscaster, “Tom Cruz and Katie are putting a baby room together, but still haven’t set a wedding date.” They are only deceiving themselves and the world who watches. Are they walking in the light of the Lord or the darkness of sin? I John 1:6 says, “ If we claim to have fellowship with him, yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” They were deceiving themselves and others.

 

5.     Pride (Vs 21): “Wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” Guilty of sin, yet still have a high opinion of themselves. It is the third time pride is mentioned in the chapters we have already studied. They do not recognize their need for God. Do you?

 

 

6.     Injustice (Vs 22-23): The leaders are more interested in partying than justice. They end up setting the guilty free and punishing the innocent. Bribery is involved as well. They have crooked and corrupt leaders!

 

Verses 24-30 Isaiah spells out the judgment of God again.

 

1.     Judgment will come (Vs 24a and 25):  fire, decay and dust because of the anger of the Lord.

2.     Why is God angry? (Vs 24b) They have rejected law of the Lord and spurned the word of the HOLY One of Israel.

3.     He summons a nation (Vs 26): Assyria comes swiftly when God raises the banner for them to be used as the agent of judgment. God uses a nation who does not know God to judge his people. There will be nothing but darkness and distress for his people.

 

God is serious about sin. Why? He is holy and righteous and just, and faithful and true to his covenant word.  He makes a way for his people to repent and receive his blessings. All of this was a precursor to the culmination of the gift of God’s grace through Jesus. The law and the inability of man to obey it, keep it, shows even us today the need we have for a personal Savior from our sin!

 

So as we look at these things that bring God sorrow, we need to understand that we still battle the old nature – the sinful nature. We need to guard against some of these sins in our own lives. We still have tendencies toward sin. Will you let God use the identification of these sins to convict you and lead you to repentance, allowing God to cleanse you - if need be. He wants us to produce good fruit.

 

        Fruit that identify that our thoughts and affections are toward Him.

        Fruit that shows him and the world that our desire is to honor Him through our words and actions.

        Fruit that is agreeable to the Spirit of God that lives within us!

 

I referred to some verses in Colossians that I have taken our keepsake truth from for this week. Truth that we can store in our heart, so we do not sin against God.

 

Keepsake truth:  Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”