I was reading in Ishaiah chapter 5 today. Verse 4 stuck out to me. The chapter spoke of the Lord’s representative planting a vineyard, tending it and cultivating it. Verse 4 tells us that all that grew were “wild grapes”. Clearly, this text is referring to God’s beloved people, Israel. But, I think it has meaning for all of us today as well.
I looked up what “wild grapes” means (since I know zero about grape growing). It means that the berries on the vines are small, hard, dry and that they are very acidic. In other words, they are grapes but they are inedible and undrinkable. They are not fit to be made into wine or jam or jelly. There will be no grape juice coming from these grapes.
In verses 5 and 6 it tells us that the vineyard’s border hedge was cut down so that the vineyard could be trampled down and destroyed.
I have seen this popular idea that is growing among Christians and Non-Christians alike. It is the idea that one can atone for all the bad things they have done and all the of the bad things that they do now that they don’t want to give up. They think that if they do a bunch of really good things that the two will balance out and God will see how much love they are showing others. They hope that God will ‘overlook’ the bad stuff and just take into account the good stuff and be OK with it all.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the way it works (at least according to the Bible). God isn’t into deal making when we hold all the cards and He is just supposed to go along with our half-hearted jabs at being better people today than we were yesterday. God isn’t into overlooking the sins in our lives and only focusing in on the rainbows and sunshine that we’ve spread around to others.
Because when we act like that we are like the wild grapes in Isaiah 5. There is no way for us to grow closer to God and become righteous through unrighteous deeds. Righteousness is being in right standing with God. God doesn’t ever tell us in the Bible that we are allowed to make our own contract with God that favors the things we’re into that we don’t want to give up because we’ve done such amazing acts of charity and love. We can adopt 20 children from impoverished countries, we can give all our money to charities and the poor, we can build homeless shelter or we can build medical centers in impoverished countries but unless we are doing it for the right reason (according to God as spoken of through the Bible) we are still in sin and we are still wild grapes.
We have this idea of God as seeing the good and amazing things we do as redemptive acts. But, God is clear that the only redemptive act that He looks upon is the one His Only Son, Jesus, made on the cross by shedding His blood and rising from the dead 3 days later. When God looks down on us to see whom He can bless He looks for the spiritual signs within us of His Son. When God, Who is Spirit, looks down upon us He looks at our Spirit and if our spirit is covered with His Spirit and over the doorpost of our hearts is smeared the blood of Jesus, then He recognizes His Son in us. It is then that He can bless us.
Two scriptures I’d like to share are: 1) I Corinthians 13:3 and 2) Matthew 22:36-40. The first one tells us that we can dole out all that we have and provide to the poor with food and we can surrender our very body to be burned but if I don’t have love I am nothing. I’ve done nothing in God’s eyes, is what it’s implying.
But, you may say, wait! I am showing love to all of mankind if I feed countless thousands of poor people. I am sacrificing my very life to help another human being. How much more does God want?
He wants you to do it all through the act of loving Him first. That’s the Matthew 22:36-40 part of the whole picture. There are many famous, rich people who think they can love on others by bestowing such great aid but fail at doing it through loving God first and foremost above all else.
Sadly, this is where many people get trapped. They can offer everything they own, even their own bodies but yet when it comes to being faithful and obedient to God by loving Him first, they crumble like an egg smashed by an elephant. They become wild grapes which are good for nothing. Yah, they grew and Yah, they became grapes but they could never be tamed. They would never come into submission to the Vinedresser’s expectations to be useful to the Vinedresser.
After all, what good is it to you if you spend thousands of dollars on a horse only to find out that it will never yield to your will. It will never accept you as its master and it will always be contrary to your wishes?
What good is it to you if you spend millions of dollars feeding the poor but you lose your own soul because you could never humble yourself to the point of being obedient to God?
What good is it to you if you purchase a Symphony Orchestra but the players refuse to yield to the conductor? So too, God is the conductor of the events on earth. The earth will go the way the things on earth are supposed to go according to His plans and He doesn’t have to tell us why if He doesn’t want to. But, He will certainly share His plans with His closest confidante’s. He will certainly share His plans with those who continuously yield themselves over to His will and who have quit trying to barter to hold onto things that God plainly can’t stand.
The choice is for each one of us to make, each day of our lives.
Who do you bow to?
We can either have awe inspiring, blinking in sunlight moments or we can have a harsh light of truth shining hotly over our heads. The choice is always ours.
Thanks for stopping by my BLIS.BLOG. this is Janet Williams with a blog to help you truly see!