Isaiah 5

 

Tonight we will be looking at Isaiah Chapters 5. In chapter 5, we see a song about a vineyard, but as the song progresses, Isaiah reveals its deeper meaning.

 

Isaiah 5:1 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill.2 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.3 " And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.

 

I like what Isaiah does here because he does what Nathan did to David when he got David to pronounce judgment on himself when he had Bathshebaís husband killed. In the first few verses, he simply tells them about this vineyard that was planted in the best possible place and was taken care of very well. Instead of producing good grapes, it produces wild grapes, which were poisonous.

 

Then starting in verse 3, he asked Jerusalem and Judah to make a judgment call on this vineyard. When the Jews heard this story, they would instantly be able to relate to it. Now he has them right where he wants them.

 

4 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?

 

I can just imagine these Jews shaking their heads in disbelief because of what happened with this vineyard. They would understand how frustrating it would be to give a vineyard the perfect amount of care, yet it ends up making poisonous grapes. Next, he tells them what he is going to do with this vineyard:

 

5 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.6 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."

 

Again, I can imagine these Jews saying amen, that is until Isaiah makes them realize that they are this vineyard.

 

7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.

 

I can just imagine the confused and horrified look on their faces, when they realized that Isaiah is saying that they are the poison grapes in the Lordís vineyard. He is letting them know through the song that God is going to remove His protection from them and they are going to be laid to waste. He gave them every opportunity and the best circumstances to produce good fruit, but no matter what God did for them, no matter what His prophets spoke to them, they chose to produce poisonous fruit. Now that Isaiah had cut to their heart, he is now going stop it in the ground because he is going to tell them 7 woes of what is going to happen to them because of their wicked ways.

 

Isaiah 5:8 Woe to those who join house to house; They add field to field, Till there is no place Where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land!9 In my hearing the LORD of hosts said, "Truly, many houses shall be desolate, Great and beautiful ones, without inhabitant.10 For ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, And a homer of seed shall yield one ephah."

 

This is a woe against the greedy and selfish. These Jews wanted more and more and that was their main focus. They would soon find out that their greedy selfish ways would come back to haunt them because God is going to make them desolate, and He is going to make it to where their vineyards will hardly produce anything.

 

There are many today who are just like these rebellious Jews who have greed and selfishness at the top of their priority list. We too will be brought low if we continue on this path.

 

Isaiah 5:11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them!12 The harp and the strings, The tambourine and flute, And wine are in their feasts; But they do not regard the work of the LORD, Nor consider the operation of His hands.

 

These Jews were just seeking after how they could please themselves. They did not wait until the evening to start drinking, they would get up early and start drinking right away and then drink all day and through the night. They would have these feasts and music, but none of was for the Lord it was for themselves. They did not even give God a thought.

 

Does this sound familiar? How many people do you know that live like this? We have many in our nation that drink and just party all the time without giving God a thought because they are too wrapped up in pleasing themselves. This was one of the problems the Corinthians had. We can see this in:

 

1 Corinthians 11:20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper.21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.

 

Nothing good will come from seeking the sinful pleasures that the this world has to offer:

 

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

 

Back to our text, Isaiah tells them what is going to happen to them because of their pleasure seeking:

 

Isaiah 5:13 Therefore my people have gone into captivity, Because they have no knowledge; Their honorable men are famished, And their multitude dried up with thirst.14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged itself And opened its mouth beyond measure; Their glory and their multitude and their pomp, And he who is jubilant, shall descend into it.15 People shall be brought down, Each man shall be humbled, And the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled.16 But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, And God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.17 Then the lambs shall feed in their pasture, And in the waste places of the fat ones strangers shall eat.

 

Though it had not happened yet, Isaiah speaks as if their captivity already happened because it was going to happen, there was no doubt about it. Many of them were going to be killed and every man was going to be humbled by their captivity. A similar fate awaits those today who choose to rebel against God, except their separation will be for eternity if the die physically in this state.

 

The third woe is next:

 

Isaiah 5:18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, And sin as if with a cart rope;19 That say, "Let Him make speed and hasten His work, That we may see it; And let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, That we may know it."

 

These Jews were so engrossed in their idol worship and sinful ways that they were basically challenging God to prove that He is the only God. I cannot help be reminded of how the Jews during Jesusí time kept telling Him to prove Himself with a miracle. God does not have to prove anything to anyone. Who are we to make such demands when the proof for His existence is all that we see and hear? As Paul said:

 

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

 

The 4th woe is something that rings true today as well:

 

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

 

These Jews and many today are guilty of calling evil good and good evil. One of the first things that people do to justify a sinful behavior is to call it acceptable behavior. Then the next step is to call those doing the opposite being wrong. The first example that comes to my mind that is happening today is how people are trying to say that homosexuality is ok because it is just another lifestyle. Then they try to say that people like me who speak against the homosexual movement as being wrong or prejudice. Of course, there are many other examples we could use that we have all seen over the years where evil is labeled as good and good as evil. When man starts redefining what God says is wrong as being right, we are going to get ourselves into a whole heap of trouble because God will not be pleased with it. We have example after example in the O.T. of how God would punish His people and other people who decide to change morality and truth to their own truth. We must make sure we avoid doing this and not fall into the same trap as the Jews.

 

Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!

 

This is certainly related to the previous woe because the heart of the problem is when we think we are wiser than everyone else including God. Oh, how foolish we become when we think we are so smart. The Scriptures deal with this idea in several places. Letís look at just a few:

 

Proverbs 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.

 

Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

 

Romans 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

 

We have to be very careful today not to think we are wiser than we are. This is especially easy for us today because we have a wealth of knowledge available to us with a few clicks of a mouse. I could be wrong, but my personal opinion is that this is more of a problem for us today then it was for Jews back then. Whether my opinion is right or wrong, one thing I am certain is that we have real problem in our society of being wiser than we really are.

 

Here is the last woe:

 

Isaiah 5:22 Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,23 Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away justice from the righteous man!

 

This woe is similar to one of the earlier ones, but this one is talking about how the regular wine was not strong enough for them so they made it more intoxicating. This is certainly a problem today. One will go from drinking beer to drinking whiskey and other stronger drinks. When that does not give them the feeling they are looking for, they will move on to drugs. This is very dangerous path to get on because not only does it affect you, it affects everyone around you. At least back then, these drunkards could not get behind the wheel of car, but today we have over 100,000 deaths every year because of men and women drinking under the influence of alcohol, yet this is another one of those areas where people have a tendency to call evil good.

 

We also see within this woe that these valiant men were also taking bribes to overlook the wickedness around them. How many times do you see people today doing things like this? We hear from time to time how those in charge will take bribes to let evil men and women get off scot free. It can be very tempting when you are high up to accept bribes, but if you a follower of God, you must resist such temptations because God does not approve of such things.

 

Next, Isaiah lays it out for them:

 

Isaiah 5:24 Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, And the flame consumes the chaff, So their root will be as rottenness, And their blossom will ascend like dust; Because they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.25 Therefore the anger of the LORD is aroused against His people; He has stretched out His hand against them And stricken them, And the hills trembled. Their carcasses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still.

Isaiah paints an ugly vivid picture of what their destruction will be like. Just like a hot fire that devours the wheat these Jews will be devoured by their enemies. Why? Because they rejected the law of the Lord, which made God angry at them. Even when many of them have perished in the streets, the punishment continues on because Godís anger has not turned away.

 

Some people do not like thinking about verses like these and they want to separate the God of the O.T. from the God of the N.T. even though He is the same God. They want to pretend that God is love and that His grace will take care of everything. So, they basically ignore the justice of God. Friends, though we are under a new covenant, we must never think that God is not going to get angry at us and unleash His wrath on us.

 

The same things that made Him angry at His people are some of the same things that make Him angry at us today. One of the main thing that makes Him angry is when we do not keep His law. Of course, we do not keep the law of Moses because that was part of the old covenant, but we are supposed to keep the law of Christ, which belongs to the new covenant. Let me show you just a few examples from the N.T. that teaches the same principle that Isaiah was teaching under the O.T.

 

2 Thessalonians 1:7 when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

 

Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.

 

So, do not let anyone fool you into thinking that God turns a blind eye to sin today. Yes we are under a new covenant, but Godís anger toward sin has not changed.

 

Isaiah 5:26 He will lift up a banner to the nations from afar, And will whistle to them from the end of the earth; Surely they shall come with speed, swiftly.27 No one will be weary or stumble among them, No one will slumber or sleep; Nor will the belt on their loins be loosed, Nor the strap of their sandals be broken;28 Whose arrows are sharp, And all their bows bent; Their horses' hooves will seem like flint, And their wheels like a whirlwind.29 Their roaring will be like a lion, They will roar like young lions; Yes, they will roar And lay hold of the prey; They will carry it away safely, And no one will deliver.30 In that day they will roar against them Like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks to the land, Behold, darkness and sorrow; And the light is darkened by the clouds.

 

God would humble His people through various nations such as the Assyrians, and Babylonians. Through Godís providence, He would use nations like these to carry out His wrath against the wickedness of His people. He lets them know that no one is going to rescue them from this punishment. The consequences of their sins will bring all this on their heads.

 

What we need to learn from this today is that God cannot stand sin. If we chose the pathway of sin and live like the world, we too will face the wrath of God. When we die in that state, there we be no rescue for us because once we die our fate is sealed for eternity. So, let us learn from this to love God and keep His commandments so that we can enjoy eternity in heaven instead of an eternity in hell.††