Read Isaiah 5:1-7
Isaiah’s Parable of the Vineyard
When we hear the word “parable,” our minds typically turn to the New Testament parables Jesus employed in his teaching. However, there are examples of parables in the Old Testament as well. Isaiah uses the image of a vineyard to teach a message about God’s care for and disappointment in His people.
God is portrayed as “my Well-beloved,” the one who has planted a vineyard. Isaiah says that this vineyard is “on a very fruitful hill” (Isaiah 5:1). God gave this vineyard every advantage to succeed: “He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes” (Isaiah 5:2).
“My Well-beloved” expresses His disappointment in the vineyard. “What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes?” (Isaiah 5:4).
With all the advantages given to Israel, why did they fail? Was God to blame? He called on them to judge for themselves (Isaiah 5:3), then proceeded to explain His intentions going forward. “And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; and break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned or dug, but there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it” (Isaiah 5:5-6).
Judgment was coming. God wanted His vineyard to succeed but “wild grapes” were the result. Still today, God wants to save lost souls. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
He will not violate man’s free will and force compliance. It is each person’s choice whether they will serve God or become modern-day “wild grapes” like Israel of old.