Isaiah 5:1-30; 2 Corinthians 11:7-15; Psalms 54:1-4; Proverbs 15:20-21
OT: “I will sing about the one I love, a song about my loved one’s vineyard: The one I love had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He broke up the soil, cleared it of stones, and planted it with the finest vines. He built a tower in the middle of it and even dug out a winepress there. He expected it to yield good grapes, but it yielded worthless grapes. So now, residents of Jerusalem and men of Judah, please judge between me and my vineyard. What more could I have done for my vineyard than I did? Why, when I expected a yield of good grapes, did it yield worthless grapes? Now I will tell you what I am about to do to my vineyard: I will remove its hedge, and it will be consumed; I will tear down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland. It will not be pruned or weeded; thorns and briers will grow up. I will also give orders to the clouds that rain should not fall on it. For the vineyard of the Lord of Armies is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah, the plant he delighted in. He expected justice but saw injustice; he expected righteousness but heard cries of despair.” (Isaiah 5:1-7 CSB)
After preaching his sermons, Isaiah composed a song about a beloved vineyard owner and His vineyard to further communicate God’s disappointment with Israel. The Lord God was the vineyard owner and the vineyard was the house of Israel. In the song, The Vineyard Owner did everything possible and provided every resource necessary for the vineyard to produce good and useful fruit, but all the vineyard produced was wild and worthless grapes. The only thing left for the Vineyard owner to do was to stop pouring His efforts into the vineyard and hand the vineyard over to the elements unto its own destruction. That is exactly what happened to the Northern nation of Israel and then later to the Southern nation of Judah. Because of their consistent rejection of God’s word and ways, and their rebellion against God’s will, God removed His hand of blessing and protection, and gave them over to invasion and exile.
Centuries later, Jesus told another similar story about a vineyard in Matthew 21:33-44. In this story, the Vineyard owner (God) left his vineyard in the care of tenant farmers. Instead of honoring the Vineyard Owner, the workers tried to take over the vineyard for their own profit – even killing the Son of the Vineyard Owner in the process. In this story, the vineyard was the kingdom of God and the tenant farmers were the Jewish religious leaders. Jesus said that because of the Jewish leaders rejection of the Son, the responsibility for the kingdom would be given to those who produced the fruit of the kingdom.
That brings us to the current age. God’s vineyard is no longer limited to the Jewish people. God’s vineyard is the church, which includes people from every ethnicity and walk of life who have placed faith in and devoted their life to the Son. The Son has now gone away and He has given all of those in His vineyard the responsibility of not just tending the vineyard, but expanding the kingdom into all the world and bringing souls into the fruitful harvest. The question before us in this age of the church is, will we repeat history and prove to be unfaithful to the Father and the Son, or will we faithfully obey the Lord of the Harvest and produce good kingdom fruit?
NT: “But I will continue to do what I am doing, in order to deny an opportunity to those who want to be regarded as our equals in what they boast about. For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no great surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:12-15 CSB)
Continuing the symbolism of the vineyard, the Corinthian church was a portion of God’s vineyard, and Paul was assigned to cultivate it, plant it, tend it, and make sure that it produced good kingdom fruit. However, there were workers, posing as agents of the Lord, who were trying to infiltrate the vineyard and sabotage all of Paul’s good work. Paul was not about to let these false prophets, deceitful workers, and agents of the enemy have their way. In defending his actions, Paul explained an important fact. Satan does not make himself obvious. He always veils his efforts within a righteous-looking exterior. He is a master counterfeiter, and so are those who work on his behalf. There are so many things that knock on the door of the church that appear to be good and righteous at first glance, but at the heart are deceptions of the enemy. How then, are we to guard the Lord’s vineyard from deceitful and destructive workers? We are to know and understand the God of the word and the word of God, and we are to rely on discernment from the Holy Spirit. By knowing God intimately and listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to identify counterfeits and protect our fruitfulness and the fruitfulness of those under our care.
Prayer: Lord, as a redeemed child of God in Christ, I am not only a son of God – I am also a worker in the family business. My job is to work in the harvest field, bring in a harvest of souls, and produce good kingdom fruit – both in my life and lives of those under my care. My desire is to be a faithful and productive worker. In order to do that, I rely on Your grace and submit to the work and leadership of the Holy Spirit in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.