Not What You Might Have Been (Isaiah 5)

June 26, 2022 | Brandon Cooper


The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Good morning. Last week, as Joe mentioned in our Isaiah series, and at long last, we’ll figure out why it’s called unfruitful, which is kind of leaving you in suspense this whole time, we got the backdrop in these first five chapters that we’ve been looking at in this series to why Isaiah needed to preach why God called him to this prophetic ministry. So you’re gonna go ahead, grab your Bibles open up to Isaiah, chapter five, we will finish up this little backdrop section here this morning in chapter five. So as you turn into Isaiah five, imagine for a moment that you are a teacher working with a struggling student, some of you have probably been in this situation. I know I’ve been in similar situations, at least in my years as an educator, so a student who’s struggling and so you make the commitment to put in the extra work with this student, you’re staying after school, you know, lunch hour, or whatever it is to tutor this individual, providing the extra time, you’ve modified the requirements of the biggest Simon even given a little extra time. And at the end, when that deadline comes, you discover that the student did not turn the paper in after all. And so now you’re doubly frustrated, of course, because you’ve got the student failing the class on the one hand, and the fact that you sort of wasted a lot of time and energy in the process, because the student despised the gift of special attention. And that is frustrating, because the more we pour into someone or something, the more frustrated we get when our investment doesn’t pay off, so to speak. You’ve all lived that somewhere, somehow, I’m sure at some point, but let me ask you this. Have you ever poured into someone or something 1/10 Or even one 101 1000s of all that God has poured into you? Nope. Right, not a chance. And so the question is just sort of hanging out there, isn’t it? What have you done with all that God has done for you? Have you received grace in vain? Have you despise the gift of special attention as it were? Well, in essence, that’s what God is asking his people in Isaiah chapter five. He does this especially in what’s known as the song of the vineyard, which is kind of the introduction to the whole chapter. And then he gives three evidences of this having received God’s gifts in vain three evidences of unfaithfulness that’s what we’ll look at this morning. So let’s start with a song of the vineyard, the unfruitful vineyard, chapter five verses one to seven. Let me read it for us now. I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard. my loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up, cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watch tower in it and cut out a wine presses. Well, then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes? Why did yield only bad? Now I will tell you what I’m going to do to my vineyard, I will take away its hedge and it will be destroyed. It will break down at the wall and it will be trampled I will make it a wasteland. Neither pruned nor cultivated, and briars and thorns will grow there that will command the clouds not to rain on it. The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the nation of Israel and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in. And he looked for justice but saw bloodshed for righteousness but heard cries of distress.
Alright, we’re going to read this passage we have to put ourselves in the original audience’s shoes, at least for a moment. The Prophet here stands up in a crowd almost certainly at the grape harvest. And he says I’m gonna sing a love song. I’m gonna sing a song for my beloved he does not mention who the beloved is. So we got this question mark is kind of hanging over the whole thing. But there is nothing in this to suggest at least early on that this is going to be a denunciation. I mean, after all, he’s singing a love song at a time of revelry and merriment. And so the audience is drawn and finally Isaiah something saying something nice. This is great. Let’s listen. Let’s give him our ears for a moment. So he’s drawing in the audience. It’s something prophets often did. You may think of Nathan, for example, when he rebukes David for raping Bathsheba and having her husband murdered. He starts by kind of getting David to to go along with the story. That’s what Isaiah is doing here. So it’s specifically a song about his Beloved’s vineyard. Now vineyard has been this light motif running throughout chapters one to five, the remnant of Zion, for example, were left like a shelter in a vineyard back in chapter one, verse eight. And then God’s vineyard is despoiled by marauders. So these invading armies or these corrupt leaders in particular are ruining the vineyard. So God intervenes to punish those corrupt leaders, chapter three verses 12 through the beginning of chapter four, but now something is changed. Now in chapter five, it is the vineyard itself that has issues and that’s a big problem. Because grape vines are good for fruit are good for absolutely nothing like the vine provides absolutely nothing else is equal goes out of his way. In fact, make his point in chapter 15 just says if there’s no fruit, what are you gonna do with it? You can’t like use it for lumber or anything like that. It’s not even strong enough to hang a coat on it like a peg, so it’s good for fruit or it’s good for nothing, and there’s no fruit.
There’s a good chance we probably don’t get viticulture much here. I don’t know if any of you raise grapes, but probably not. So we might need a little bit of help understanding what has happened first, the beloved chooses the best spot. It’s a fertile hill we see in verse one, and then he digs it up so that he can plant the vines and in the process clears the stones, which would be important because the limestone outcroppings in this area of the world make for really fertile soil, but they also litter the surface with rocks. So you gotta clear all those out. But good news, you can do something with all those rocks, you can pile them up into walls to protect your vineyard from any animals who had come in to eat the tender young vines. And then he plants it with it says the choicest vines, we don’t know what vine This is, we just know it’s not the usual word used for Vine. So this is the really good stuff. Pick your favorite grape. That’s what they plant planted right here. That’s what the beloved has planted. Now, he plants the zines. And then if you’ve planted any fruits other than strawberries around here, you know how this goes, you don’t get any fruit for a while. Usually about two years before, you know your raspberries or blackberries start coming in. Same with grapes. So no harvest for two years. But if he’s expecting a good crop, if he thinks this is going to work out, he can spend those two years getting ready for the harvest that is going to come he could for example, use the extra stones to build a watch tower, the place where he’d stay during the harvest even. And he would also have to build the wine press. So the upper area where they stomp the grapes, the little trough and then the lower basin which collects the vine after it’s been stomped on. And in fact, we learned in verse five, he actually also planted a hedge. So we get a double border, no possibility of animals or thieves coming in anything like that. And yet, despite all of this, it produces only bad fruit, stink fruit, literally all this care, all this cultivation, and it’s no better than if he just left the whole place untended. This whole time. It is still wild and unfruitful. So the beloved has done a lot, as Isaiah points out in verses three and four. And he actually began speaking to the audience at that point, like back up here, people, he did what he’s supposed to do, right, this is how you build a vineyard. So he’s drawing them in, and he’s drawing the net around them at the same time, because these people they have planted vineyards, they know how this goes. And they know what the beloved should expect. You could almost hear the audience kind of shouting back, as he’s asking questions, like little bit of dialogue going on here. Like yes, absolutely. It should produce good fruit. Why? Because the vine is good for fruit or it’s good for nothing. And so if it’s going to be as worthless as wild vines, Well, might as well just make it wild again, knock down the walls with the animals in and just call it a sanctuary or something like that. Let the animals eat distinct fruit. He’s tearing out the hedge, he’s knocking down the wall and give it back to nature. He’s taking all this and keep in mind audiences still on board. In fact, like David, they’re probably a little bit angry. Remember David Nathan tells the story about the guy who stole the one sheep even though he had all those flocks. And David was like, who is the guy who’s gonna chop his head off? And that’s kind of where the audience here is at this point. They’re they’re angry that the all this work produced nothing. They don’t know who the beloved is still, as a never says, Is it Isaiah? Is he kind of doing that? Well, I’ve got a friend who has a problem, or is it really his friend or somebody that until the end of verse six and then all of a sudden we get a hint? Because it says that he will command the clouds not to rain ane
Well, there’s only one being who can command the clouds not to rain. And it’s not people like you and me, that’s for sure. And so maybe there’s a sudden hush falling on the audience. Because if God is the Beloved, well then what is the vineyard? Exactly? They’re caught. They’ve condemned themselves by going along with Isaias point. The vineyard is we see in verse seven, the people of God, Judah, his vines, and what more could he have done for them? You just scroll through Old Testament history See all that he’s done from calling them as a people calling them out of Egypt, delivering them into the Promised Land, and yet all of that care and love and they produce nothing but stink fruit. In fact, Isaiah makes the point using a very painful pawn, which is lost of course in the English, but at the end there when it says he looked for justice and saw bloodshed for righteousness, but heard cries of distress those words all sound a lot like Derek Kidner tried to give us the a little bit of the sound here, he says it’s almost like he looked for right, but found a riot. And he looks for decency, but heard only despair. But let me ask you now, does the question that God asks in these verses apply any less to us? And what more could God do than he has done for us? It’s an important question for us to ask because we make excuses, don’t we? If only God had done a little more if he’d done this, or if he would do this, well, then I would give him my whole heart you could have my whole life. If only I had more money than I could be more generous. If I had been given better parents, then maybe I would have better habits. If he would install me in a loving community, then I would attend and engage and serve. But this passage, nevermind the whole the New Testament puts the lie to our excuses, doesn’t it? What more could he have done than he has done for us? Like let’s just stroll through Ephesians one briefly here, just one paragraph. Basically, he chose us before creation, to be holy to be set apart is special people, and blameless exactly what we’ve been talking about in Isaiah, one to five weird, the sorts of people the world can’t ignore, blameless and then in love, he elected us to adoption, as in Fairy errors to receive the riches of glory in Christ. And in Christ, we have forgiveness and redemption through his blood, which reminds us of the cost of this love. By the way, it wasn’t just a question of moving some stones to the side of a field, but a cost in the blood of His Son. And then he reveals his mysterious will to us so that we understand His plan of salvation and seals us with His Spirit, who is our assurance of salvation, and a force for sanctification in our lives, keep reading and Ephesians you know that He sets us in communities that we can build each other up in love. And he lavishes His promises on us. So that even in moments like suffering, and those are the times especially when we go on not sure God has done everything he could do for me, so that even in our suffering, he gives us promises like God works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose. Even our suffering is subjugated to the good that he is doing in our lives. He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all how will he not also along with Him freely give us all things? The question Paul asks, in Romans eight. That’s what he has done for us. What more could he have done? He’s given us everything we need for life, and godliness. Peter tells us. One commentator on this passage said, the image of a vineyard is so why is the seven verses because true religion is a divine culture in human history. So it takes God coming in and making something different in the wild world. But here’s the thing. He cultivates us for a purpose to display His character righteousness and justice so that we would be that magnet that we’ve been talking about the last few weeks, the nations will look at us and go something different, and there’s something attractive about that life. I want to know the reason for the hope that they have, but by then our stubbornness and degeneracy. We can thwart God’s purposes, so that he does what he does. Hear, which is withdraw.
Just the severest judgment by law, if you’re still being disciplined by God, that’s good. That means he’s still in your life. He’s still working. When God finally says, I did all I could do that’s when you know you are in big, big trouble. Romans chapter one teaches us this is serious stuff. So serious stuff. This is the verse that Caitlin read for us earlier, right? We urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. Paul wouldn’t have to urge us not to receive His grace manual lessons possible for us to receive His grace in vain. So we got to stop and we got to check our fruit and that’s where I say it takes us next because again, you can almost hear the audience murmuring at this point going Hey, now let’s not ask we born good fruit haven’t we? And so Isaiah gives the evidence gives the and fruit that he sees in their lives and the series of six woes that we’re going to look at their three pairs two rows each. Interestingly the first and last pairs are followed by to their fours that show the judgment is coming that’s kind of our structure right there. This is helpful by the way as we do Bible study anybody find the prophets hard to read in your year we Bible reading, they they get confusing sometimes don’t say this is the kind of stuff we want to look for right is go whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, okay, whoa, stop, right circle all those kind of figure out what’s going therefore, therefore, those are the sorts of words you highlight, you figure out what he’s doing. That’s gonna be our structure here today. So on fruit number one, indulgence, let me read verses eight to 17. For us, Woe to you who add house to house and join feel to feel to no spaces left and you live alone in the land. The Lord Almighty has declared my hearing Surely the great houses will become desolate the fine mansions left without occupants, a 10 acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine a homer of seed will yield only an eighth of grain. Whoa to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks who stay up late at night till they’re inflamed with wine. They have harps and liars, they’re banquets, pipes and timbrels and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of his hands. Therefore, my people will go into exile for lack of understanding, those of high rank will die of hunger and the common people will be parched with thirst. Therefore death expands its jaws opening wide its mouth into it will descend there nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers. So people will be brought low and everyone humbled. The eyes of the arrogant humbled, the Lord Almighty will be exalted by His justice and the Holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts, then sheep will graze in their own pasture lands will feed among the ruins of the rich. So his first row is against the rich, who are engaging in land speculation, which is the problem of course, because the land itself was Israel’s inheritance, it was divided up very carefully, so that everyone would get their portion. But now you’ve got somebody stealing other people’s portions, gobbling up the houses in the fields until you own it all. In a big house, you don’t have any neighbors. Interesting, actually, that this description here is almost exactly how CS Lewis describes hell in the great divorce. Everybody’s got these giant houses, and they just keep moving out of them and farther out into the boonies because they can’t stand each other. Because once your love of God grows cold, your love towards others grows cold as well. That said this last week is important to say again, if not that God is against wealth, per se. Like some people just can’t help it. Some of you can’t help but the things that God has gifted you to do this world rewards monetarily. Nothing wrong with that. The question is always how did you get it? And what are you doing with it? Did you get it through ill gotten means and are you using it to serve ungodly ends? Those are the questions. And clearly that’s what’s happening here. And so in the end, these great houses will be empty, probably because of the exile. But honestly, great houses tend to be empty anyway. Think of places like Versailles. Like my mom and I we toured Scotland some years ago and we went to all the castles of course. You know, what’s interesting about the castle is no one lives in there too much money. It’s just too much money to maintain. So the government owns them all. And they’re just museums at this point. That’s what these houses will be to. Their fields also produce very little, they cease 10 fields only to see each field only produce 1/10 of what is expected. To quote James, these people are striving to live in luxury and self indulgence. But they indulge in more than just land speculation. They’re also drunks.
And I think this has got to do with more than just alcohol. The key here is that indulge Djinns numbs spiritual perception. That’s what we see in these people. They love music and we’re low. You know, they don’t really love God’s deeds, the record of his faithfulness to Israel. Well, let’s not pretend like only alcohol numbs our spiritual perception, all sorts of things can do that. We can numb our spiritual perception through them flickering boxes we all have. Sometimes they’re big and hanging on your wall, sometimes you hold them in your hand, we can certainly numb our spiritual perception through that through entertainment, through our hobbies, through throwing ourselves into our career, through relationships, whatever it may be. Well, what happens in verse 13, therefore, the punishment fits the crime. Let’s see this throughout Isaiah, the punishment fits the crime always. They drink to forget God we just saw. And then what happens? Well, because of a lack of understanding, this culminates in their thirst. Interesting, right, and they’ve got these voracious appetites. They’re at a feast, after all, plus, they’re gobbling up all the land all around them. But that appetite that self indulgence is nothing compared to deaths appetite. And in the end, death will gobble them all up, and the party is over. As a result, the vast estates are now empty. They’re not even museums. In fact, look at verse 17, I find this fascinating, then sheep will graze as in their own pasture. That’s lovely, isn’t it? It’s idyllic pastoral image, got a psalm 23. Field Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. This sounds great until you realize that this is true because of post apocalypse. Like that’s because the lambs are feeding among the ruins of the rich like this is when the pandemic happened. We were all locked in our rooms for a while. And there were like, you know, Moose walking down Main Street and stuff. Like that’s kind of the feel we got here. We were like, well, this is really cool. But it’s only cool because it’s really not cool. And that’s what’s happened here, as well. In contrast, all this sin, though, stands God, verse 16, who is a holy and who will prove himself holy. Now, His Holiness is what sets him apart as God. And it’s interesting, that frequently in the prophets, it’s not his power, or his wisdom over those are true, of course, but it is His righteousness and His justice. That’s what sets him apart. Righteousness is right principles and justice as those right principles applied in right action. And that’s how God rules and rains, in contrast to all the corrupt leaders we’ve seen in the past few weeks. But that holiness, that righteousness, and justice ultimately demands that he punished those who will not relent from their rebellion against Him. So we need to check our unfruitful of indulgence. Are you living in luxury? That’s a tough question for us here to this part of the world is part of the country. The answer is probably, probably, are you living in luxury? Are you getting drunk? And even if it’s not on alcohol, are you still numbing your spiritual perception? How do you do that? You got to know you got to look as what are you doing with all that God has done for you? The second unfruitful, one is immorality may read verses 18 to 20. Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit and wickedness, as with cart ropes to those who say, let God hurry, let him hasten his work so we may see it, the plan of the Holy One of Israel, let it approach let it come into view. So we may know it. 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.
This is the center of the woes. And sandwiched between those two pairs with the therefore is like I said before, it’s the heart of the passage because it gets at the heart of the matter. And the heart of the matter is matter of the heart. The problem is our sinful hearts. That’s what he’s pointing out. It’s interesting we so often feel like we’re being dragged along by sin, don’t we? Like all sin God hold me again kind of thing told me but the opposite is true according to Isaiah. Every time we sin it’s like we wrap a cord around ourselves and bind us to this cart that pulling sin along so that we end up dragging more and more and then those individual cords will they get woven together to form these Curt ropes which are thick and very difficult to break. This is the idea of you so an action you reap a habit? Yes. So a habit you reap ultimately a character so that by the end of these people are in bondage, to sin, but it’s a bondage of their own making they have tied themselves up. Look at the absurdity of this picture, by the way, because it shows us the absurdity of sin. It’s not that we’re on the cart, driving the oxen or the donkeys, we’re the donkeys. We’re the beasts of burden. We’re the ones dragging sin along with this cart tied to us. And we’ve got to pull it all the time. It reminds us that sin is never a joy, always a burden. And we do it to our selves. Of course, we would think of something like addiction here. That’s exactly what this image captures. But we don’t need to think of it just in those terms. And this is as simple as somebody who just turns to complaining instead of gratitude, time, and time and time again, eventually, what is the burden that you’re dragging behind you is unceasing discontent. You’re just unhappy all the time. You have not brought yourself joy by your sin of complaining. You have made your life burdensome, and you are the beasts of burden, dragging it behind you. And then sin hardens our hearts. Hope you know that hope you know that you can’t keep sinning and keep your heart open to God. And so eventually then the heart becomes so hard that we’ve moved to arrogance that mocks god you’re actually taunting Isaiah here in light of verse 13. Right? Isaiah says, My people will go into exile, there’s the promise punishment. And they respond Oh, oh, God’s gonna judge is he? Alright? Let’s see it. Good. Show me the Redman can’t wait to see it. So they’re mocking Him they even use Isaiah is titled The Holy One of Israel. Remember, this is what Isaiah calls God. It draws out his separateness as being holy other from us. They use that title in mocking God. I’m not necessarily a fan of sidewalk preachers. I don’t think it’s the most effective means of evangelism today. And it’s probably especially true if you got a sandwich board on you. That says the end is near on it. That’s almost a trope at this point, like a comedic trope is a stereotype of what bad judgment preaching looks like. And we often then will mock people who do this. They’re like grandpa Simpson yelling at the clouds. Isaiah has got an end his near sandwich board on him, and they’re mocking him. But here’s the thing. Everything that Isaiah said, happened to Israel, they went into exile. The houses were desolate. And that punishment that Israel experience foreshadows the coming final judgment under Christ. And we can mock those people today. But in the end, they will be proved right even if their method is wanting, and I think it is they are not wrong in their message. One day, we will look back and go the end was near was nearer than we thought there will come a day don’t wait. So numb your spiritual perception. In the meantime, don’t mock those who speak to you about it. There are many, many reasons to come to Jesus. Many reasons to satisfy longings that you know, this world cannot meet for help in a time of trouble. It’s the atheists in foxholes, joke, of course, it can come simply because of the beauty of the truth of the gospel message, or to find release from your burdens, like guilt and shame or simply to be love to experience unconditional love. But there is another reason to come in, it’s just to escape judgment. Like at a certain point, you have to
it’s like a French collaborator at the end of World War Two. And you suddenly realize, I don’t think the Nazis are gonna win this thing. And we’re still you realize, I only sided with the Nazis for my own sake, because I thought they were going to win and I wanted what was best for me, they were wrong, I should not have sided with them because they were evil. It’s the same awakening that we need to have to go. I know who wins this in the end. And I know that I have been in rebellion against Him, so that I can get what I think will be best for me. It’s time to see the writing on the wall to turn to repent. Speaking of collaborators, how do they get to that point? How do you get to the point where you can mock God like that? Have you ever looked at another person sends you never do this with your own set? Of course, but you will look at somebody else’s sin and think, how can they do that? How can anyone do that? It’s so grotesque. Here’s how. And we’ve all done it. So we should actually understand this process where the self life that we talked about last week, that whole being bent in on yourself, the self life presses reason into its service, to rationalize and justify sin. We make excuses. So that eventually we can take evil and make it seem like it’s good. Like calling bitter sweet. Here’s our Martyn Lloyd Jones, the great Welsh preacher put it he says sin is very clever. It always brings forward its reasons sin knows us so well. It knows that we like to think of ourselves as highly intelligent people. So it does not just tell us do this. It gives us reasons for doing it. And they appear so wonderful. The whole point is that in reality, they’re empty and foolish. The arguments are always you’ve heard the arguments, God would want me to be happy. That’s just this once I can repent later. Well, it’s no big deal. This was another person’s fault. It’s not really me is what my parents did me what my friend did man what whoever did it to me, you might hear these in your head, others like them, maybe even as we look at Scripture together, week in and week out. Don’t make the excuses. Let the sword of the Spirit cut the cords of sin that are tying into the burdens that you’re dragging behind your check the fruit of immorality in your life. Are you in bondage to sin? Are you just tying the ropes tighter and sicker? What are you doing with all that God has done for you. Then the third on fruit intoxication, we read the rest of the passage, verses 21 to 30. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Well to those who are heroes of drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe up at night but deny justice to the innocent. Therefore as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay. Their flowers blow away like dust for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the Lord’s anger burns against his people. His hand is raised and he strikes them down the mountains shaking the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets. Yet for all this his anger is not turned away. His hand is still appraised. He lifts up a banner for the distant nations he whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come swiftly and speedily. Not one of them grows tired or stumbles not one slumbers or sleeps not a belt is loosened at the waist, not a sandal strap is broken. Their arrows are sharp. All their bows are strong. Their horses hooves seem like Flint, a chariot wheels like a whirlwind. Their Roar is like that of a lion. They roar like young lions, they grow as they seize their prey and carry it off with no one to rescue. And that day they will roar over it like the roaring of the sea. If one looks at the land, there’s only darkness and distress. Even the sun will be darkened by
clouds. His passage takes us all the way back to the beginning, doesn’t it? Look to those who are wise in their own eyes? Well, that’s exactly what the serpent promised Adam and Eve isn’t it? Then you will be wise, then you get to know what is good and evil so that you could actually decide good as evil and evil is good. What is that? It’s that desire for autonomy, the desire to be our own law to choose for ourselves to flaunt God’s standards you do you live your truth. Turns out the sins of Eden are still here and thriving. But where does all that lead? In the end? It’s a repeat of last week is what it is. You’re these heroes and champions. Those are pointedly sarcastic comments. By the way. This is a little bit like describing your degenerate son who’s often college Oh, yes, he’s going to graduate summa cum laude and with distinction and beer pong. Probably not quite as proud as it made it seem like at first. But what’s interesting, of course, is that these are exactly the leaders that the country needs real heroes and real champions, not heroes and champions who are awarding themselves medals for their ability to drink. But this literal intoxication points to a much deeper, subtler and more destructive intoxication. And that is that they’re intoxicated with power. numbed to spiritual insight, as we’ve seen throughout this passage, and their consciences seared through immorality, which we’ve seen throughout this passage. They are happy to pervert justice for a bribe. Remember justice as the character of God. That’s what these leaders are called to display and instead they’re doing exactly the opposite. These are the same people who asked God to prove himself hurry up and judge us then if you’re going to judge us. And that’s exactly what happens. The Lord hastens like fire to dry grass. They wanted autonomy. Well, they get it, because their roots dry up. And now they’re free. What a beautiful picture. Terrifying but beautiful picture of sin. Exactly. No more constraint, free from constraint, free to die, because that’s what a flower without roots is. And because they were unfruitful the blossom falls and withers away. God does not rush to judgment. We’ve seen that in these last few weeks. His judgment is carefully measured, the punishment fits the crime and always does. We saw last week, he reads the charges. First, they earned the judgment they are experiencing, they rejected His law. It says they spurned His Word. By the way, that’s one of the things that he did for them. They have all nations on Earth, had the revelation of God, and what did they do with it? They just rejected it. Therefore, he is right to be angry. And so he brings the natural world against them in the form of an earthquake. And then he brings the nations against them in the form of invasion and exile. Don’t miss it. By the way. That means that God is sovereign over creation, and sovereign over history. He really does have the whole world in His hands. So he speaks the word the mountains shake. This is probably the earthquake that happens under Uzziah. You can read about in Isaiah chapter six. And yet he says for all this, his anger is not turned away. His hand is still appraised and so he whistles and the nations come running, eager to conquer and devastate the land. It says though, if we can go back to the opening image, the wall has come down, the hedge is chopped down, the animals can come in and trample the land of Israel. So we need to check the fruit of intoxication. are you digging yourself up by your roots, and the desire for autonomy flouting God’s standards? What are you doing with all that God has done for you? Did you notice too? There’s no hope at the end of this passage. There’s no cheerful note. The end. There’s just darkness and distress. I mean, last week, we talked, you know, self life sabotage of society. But there is hope. Because Chapter Four gave us hope. A little bit of maybe just maybe we can be changed. So last week, hope this week Nope. They filled up the measure of sin. And that now overflows then in judgment, perfect, righteous judgment. All that we’ve seen in these first five chapters. The last four weeks, we saw your last three weeks that Mercy triumphs over that judgment, but now, people can thwart God’s purposes.
And what happens when God has done all when he has done everything, and yet his people still bear the and fruit of wickedness when they’re receiving His grace in vain? What does John the Baptist say? And words very similar to Isaiah bear fruit in keeping with repentance. God expects results he expects fruit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. But here’s the reality. No, one of us does that all the time. I think anyone’s raising their hand right now being perfectly loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle self control. I cannot think of a time I slipped in the last week. Not the church for you with you, by the way. Okay. So what then? God gives us his whole heart. We just saying that. And how do we return the favor by giving very divided hearts, double minded, unstable and all that we do? Is there any hope can mercy triumph over wrath or not? Although Isaiah doesn’t say it here, he says it in other places. Of course. We know the answer because there was another time when the sun was darkened in the middle of the day. And there’s our answer. That’s the answer to our repentant stumbling in our Grace fueled striving. It’s the one who said I am the true vine. Israel is not God’s vineyard. Not real not ultimately, Jesus is the true and better Israel, the obedient son of God. And so he is the true vine, who bears the perfect fruit. So what do we do in those moments when we stumble especially, it’s not that we try harder and it may happen to that’s fine. But most importantly, we keep ourselves in Him by grace, through faith, what did he say John, chapter 15, I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. But apart from me, you can do nothing. So you’re looking at yourself today and you’re checking your fruit, okay? I mean, check that pay attention to it. Think about what needs to change in your life, but check your relationship with him. First and foremost. How is your time and the word been? Are you opening up his word every day? Or have you rejected His word? Like is real? What is your prayer life look like? Are you striving to keep in step with the Spirit? Are you in community so that you have the people he’s placed in your life spurring you along towards love and good deeds? What are you doing with all that God has done for you, because God has done everything he has done at all. Surrender, and abide and bear fruit. So we are sinners in Christ, we need fear, no condemnation. And no way we may often even come stumbling, still we can boldly approach his throne, to receive grace in our time of need, let’s pray together
will lead us in a prayer of confession? I’ll give you some space as we pray in the quiet of your own heart to confess your own sins because you’re unfit might not be my own fruit. And we need to do the work of thinking through this ourselves for ourselves. Lord, we acknowledge first of all, that you have done so much for us. You could not have done more for us than you have done already in Christ. You’ve given us your word. You’ve given us the church, the community of believers to encourage us You have given us grace and the riches of glory in Christ forgiveness, hope, peace, joy, mercy, Your spirit to seal us and sanctify us. Everything we need for life and godliness, you have held nothing back from us. We acknowledge that Lord, we acknowledge also though that far too often we have received your grace in vain. That we have grown slack in abiding in you. And in seeking to live out your character, the character you’re forming in us by your Spirit. We see stink fruit in our lives, indulgence, immorality and intoxication Hear the prayers of your people. Now Lord as we confess our sins to You.
Lord by grace we do not want to remain as we are, would you cut the cords that bind us to our sinful burdens, and free us to live lives of a willful, humble, loving service to you? Forgive us, Lord, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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