Reading: Isaiah 5: 1-4
In our passage today God laments, “What more could I have done for my vineyard”? God thinks back to the fertile land flowing with milk and honey that was handed over to Israel. God recalls the cities they did not built that were offered as dwelling places. God remembers how a shield was kept about them, protecting them from their enemies. God’s people, the vineyard so carefully tended, is now producing bad fruit. The people had all they needed to produce good fruit but have instead turned away from God. God looks and sees bloodshed instead of justice, heard cries of distress instead of righteousness.
The passage calls us to look at and reflect on our own lives. God has also richly blessed us in so many ways. God has built hedges of protection around us. God has poured into our lives the example of Jesus found in the scriptures and has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. God has given us all we need to go forth and produce a good crop. So we must honestly ask ourselves if we are doing so. Are we using all of God’s rich blessings to go out and produce a crop of justice and righteousness and love?
Too often we can be like the crop God finds in Israel. The soil is good and the leaves are healthy. But the fruit underneath is sour. We go to church and maybe even read our Bibles every day. Then we go to work and exploit those with less power or cut a corner or bend a law for our own gain. Or maybe we say and do all the right things out in public but harbor an addiction within the secret places of our lives. We somehow think God does not know, but the pruning shears are ready to go to work.
Maybe instead we are holding onto a sin we can’t quite give to God or we are nursing a grudge or hurt from long ago and we can’t quite offer forgiveness to another. God calls aloud for us to give up all that holds us back, to release anything that separates us from God, and to lay it at the cross. God invites us to do this so that we can walk in a right relationship with our Lord and Savior. God desires to prune away all that keeps us from being all God intends us to be. Pruning can be hard but the results are a healthier plant that produced a better crop. May we be willing to lay down all that hinders and separates us from God so that we may walk humbly and faithfully with our Lord.