I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?”
Looking for Good Grapes
A friend of mine helped me become a wine snob. He suggested that I get some bottles of a particular wine made in a certain year. A wine magazine praised this selection. I promptly went out to purchase a few bottles at my local grocer.
My friend did not steer me wrong. This wine tasted excellent. When I returned to the grocery store, I looked for more of it. I found another bottle at a reasonable price and bought it. I tasted the new bottle of wine and found that it didn’t taste as good. Then I looked at the label and discovered I had just purchased a different vintage, a year that didn’t favor the grapes as much as the year I previously bought. So it goes with wine. Some vineyards in some years produce excellent grapes. The same vineyard in another year produces so-so grapes.
God compared his Old Testament people of Israel to a vineyard. He did everything possible to make them produce excellent spiritual grapes. Here’s what he found: “When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?” God looked for justice but saw bloodshed. He looked for righteousness but heard cries of distress.
God saw that nation the way he sees humanity today—people in whom he has invested his greatest care, but they keep producing bad grapes—sinful deeds contrary to his holy will. How much Israel and we today need the master gardener, Jesus Christ! He alone produced the good deeds acceptable to God. He alone got trampled in the winepress of God’s wrath for the sins of the world.
Marvel at God’s grace. Through Jesus Christ, God sees us as good. And by his Word, he works in us the ability to produce the good deeds that he desires.
Dear Father in heaven, make a good harvest of good deeds from the good vineyard you have planted. Through the love of Jesus my Savior, produce in me the excellence that gives glory to you. Amen.