August 18, 2019
by Brian Inman
Clergy of Peck's Memorial UMC (Maryville, TN)
Smoky Mountain District
It is never fun to have certain expectations in life, only to have them return to us unfulfilled. A job, an investment, a relationship – so much promise and hope, but then it fizzles out and leaves us disappointed and empty. That was the situation that this song in Isaiah speaks of – unfulfilled expectations. The owner of the vineyard made his purchase, and then did everything that he possibly could to produce the high quality grapes that he was hoping for. He cleared the land of stones, he planted choice grapes, prepared the vat – all that was left to do was to wait for his harvest. But alas, there would be no choice grapes…only wild grapes. The owner had done everything that he knew to do, but in the end, he was left with bitter grapes that were ultimately not usable for anything. He was left disappointed, and then disappointment turned to anger…so much so that he took very specific steps to make sure that the land he had purchased would be a desolate wasteland, not suitable for anything. He tore down the hedge and broke down the wall, leaving it accessible to anyone and anything that wanted to trample upon it. Finally, the author of the song reveals that he is The Lord, or Yahweh, in verse 6 by commanding the clouds to stay away and not provide rain for his plants. Then in verse 7, the main point to the story is revealed. The owner is The “Lord of hosts” and the vineyard represents the “people of Judah”. The Lord has given them every opportunity to be the people that He expected them to be – that He wanted them to be – and He was disappointed. “He expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry.” And His disappointment would not go unchecked – there would be a price to pay. He isn’t specific as to what that would entail, and it would take a while to come to pass, but it is never a good idea to not live up to our end of the bargain with The Lord. So, what does that mean for us today? Does God expect perfection from us? No…but He does expect us to walk with Him. He expects us to point others to Him. And He wants us to produce good fruit with our words and our actions. We are to be the high quality grapes, not the wild grapes that aren’t useful for the Kingdom. May we make it our highest priority to not disappoint The Lord, but to be the kind of people that produce good fruit – and bring a smile to His face! Amen!