Isaiah 4-6

Investing

We are bombarded with the need to be investing for the future, whether it be in a 401K, IRA, real estate, stocks etc. The purpose of investing is to get a return and secure our future. But what happens when our investments fail to bring us any return? We usually get out of them and try to invest in something that will accomplish our goals.

In Isaiah 5 we read that God invested in a vineyard. The vineyard was the house of Israel and the men of Judah we are told in verse 7. The investment was the Law and the Worship of God. Both Judah and Israel were to live the Law for the entire world to see.

The channel by which the Law would come was from God through the priesthood in Jerusalem where the temple was. From the priesthood the Law was given to the people of God and they were to live it as a witness before the nations. The reference to the house of Israel is a picture to us of how God wants to bless the nations who follow God’s Law and worship Him. God never intended Israel to make idols to worship and prevent the people from going to the Temple in Jerusalem to worship. But that is what Israel did. God’s investment was not producing a return when they cut themselves off from the source.

Judah didn’t fare much better. They also worshiped idols and just gave God’s investment lip service. From both nations God was looking for a return from the Law He had given them. He was looking for justice and righteousness but all He saw was bloodshed and all He heard were cries of distress. God said He would remove His protection and blessing and the vineyard will be destroyed.

Jesus spoke a parable of another vineyard that didn’t produce a return for God in Matthew 21. God sought a return on His investment but the vine-growers want to keep everything for themselves. They will even kill His Son. God will throw them out and the vineyard will be given to others who will produce a return for God. The “others” Jesus spoke of is the Church.

In John 15, Jesus makes it clear that we the Church are the branches of the true vine.  We are expected to produce fruit for God. Jesus is the Word of God. John tells us this in verses 1-5&14. We are to live and exhibit the word of God in our lives. We are to also tell the world around us of God’s love, mercy, and grace. Again, our lives must be consistent with our message. The power to be consistent comes from the Holy Spirit whom we are given when we give our life to Jesus the Christ and we are born into His kingdom and family.

The Church has been given the Holy Spirit much like Israel and Judah were given the Law. God is looking for a return from His investment in His Church. Just like the previous vineyards God is the vinedresser who will prune (clean) away any branch that does not bear fruit.

 Let me be clear. Bearing fruit is abiding in Jesus and living His Word before others. It is not how many people are converted as we proclaim the gospel. We really have no control over what another person decides. What we do have control over is whether we abide in Jesus. Jesus said, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:3&4 NASB

Two things are spoken of here that relate to the first two vineyards. In Isaiah 5 the vineyard did not abide in God’s word and injustice and lawlessness resulted. In Matthew 21 the religious rulers  tried to produce fruit for themselves apart from abiding with God. In Isaiah 5 they rejected the Law and in Matthew 21 the religious rulers rewrote the law adding to it the traditions and their interpretations developing a religion of works. They had a form of godliness but denied the power.

The Church has been given the task of bearing fruit for the Lord. God has given us the power and the channel by which we can accomplish this task. Worldliness and pride are still the enemies as they were in the first two vineyards. In order to abide in Jesus we need to stay connected to the Word through the Holy Spirit.  John 1:4 says, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” NASB

Let your light shine! Matthew 5:16

Pastor Dave

 Note that Isaiah, in Chapter 6, shows us how to make the commitment to God, and abide in God, in order to be a branch that bears fruit for God.