If Jesus were to return today, how would God judge you? Would you mention something about a “vineyard”? Probably not.
When I think of a “vineyard”, I think of a trip to Napa Valley.
I see in my head serene fields of plump grapes hanging from their vines. And I end my tour tasting wine and nibbling on cheese and crackers. God’s judgment doesn’t even cross my mind.
But for people during biblical times, the connection is obvious. “Vineyards” were code for God’s imminent judgment upon the disobedient.
The prophet Isaiah tells the story (Isaiah 5) of his “beloved” who owned a vineyard. He digs the ground and clears away the rocks. He plants rows of vine. And he builds a watchtower in which to gather, crush and ferment grapes.
Everything was perfect for producing great wine. But what happens? The vines produce wild grapes. While fine for many things, they are terrible for wine!
The “Story of the Unfruitful Vineyard” is a commentary on humanity’s relationship with God. God is the “beloved”; we are the “vineyard”.
God raised people up to do good things: to praise and worship God and to love others as itself. But, as hard as God worked, his vineyard failed to produce the fruit he intended.
So what does the “beloved” do? He decides to destroy it:
And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it (Isa. 5:5-6)
If it’s not obvious, Isaiah is talking about you. You are the vineyard.
Look at what you’ve done with your own life. Look at how your choices affect you and your family’s life. If God looked at you, how would you be judged?
Don’t like the answer? Too much baggage in your life? Don’t worry.
With God’s help, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). Take responsibility for your life and do something positive with it. God doesn’t want to see your life waste away. He wants to see you flourish.