“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?”(Isaiah 5:4 NASB95)
The Lord, through the prophet Isaiah, reveals the root of His concern over His people. He states in chapter 5 that He redeemed Israel and planted the people in the promised land like a farmer would plant a choice vineyard. He planted them in a fertile field. He put a wall around them to protect them from forces from the outside. He provided water and nourishment so that they might grow and produce fruit. But something went wrong. Instead of producing good fruit, the vineyard produced worthless fruit. It doesn’t make sense! All the inputs were good, but bad came out. Somehow the plants chose on their own to reject the good inputs and rotted from the inside out. But look at the heart of God. Peer in and see how He describes the travesty. “What more was there to do?” What more could I have done? That is what the Lord is asking. God yearns for His people but the branches have rejected the Vine; the clay pot has rejected the Potter.
Today I introspectively look into my own life. I, too, am a vineyard that the Lord has faithfully redeemed, planted in fertile ground and fed and protected by the power of His Holy Spirit. What does He think and see when He looks down at me? Am I producing fruits worthy of the input of His love and grace? What a shame it would be for me, or any of us, to hear God say, “What else could I have done? Why are you producing worthless fruit when I expected good fruit?” How does one rot from the inside and reject the good inputs that God brings to us throughout our lives? The lesson we can learn from the Israelites is that they took God’s grace for granted. They actually began to think they were where they were because of their own decision, power, and choice. They forgot to live in the shadow of their redemption.
Paul says in Galatians 2:20 that “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in Me.” He also says in I Corinthians 2:2 that “I determine to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Paul understood the dangers of forgetting God’s redemptive grace, so He chose to remember and live in it every moment of his life. In doing so, Paul was able to live a life connected to the Vine of Jesus and produce fruits that were good and spread the Gospel to everyone he met. Let’s live in the shadow of the cross today! Let’s grasp the Vine (our Savior) with all our might and not let go. Let’s let the Spirit of God work through us to produce fruit that gives glory to our God and Savior.