Guilty As Charged
ISAIAH 5 is titled in my Bible “The Vineyard of the LORD destroyed”
A tragic picture of Judah’s decline, and God’s response is painted through this chapter.
The chapter starts out with God speaking of how He set Israel up for success.
In verse 2, we see all that God did for the vineyard, Israel.
He dug it (preparing the soil to be fertile)
He cleared the stones (removing obstacles)
He planted it with the best seed (setting them up to be successful)
He built a watchtower (Keeping them safe)
He hewed out a wine vat (preparing them to be effective)
He looked for it to yield grapes (waiting for an expected harvest)
As you can easily see, God did all of the work for them.
God gave them every blessing that He could, so that they could be fruitful.
In verse 4, He even challenges Judah, saying “What more what there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done it?”
But at the end of verse 2, and the end of verse 4, it says, “it yielded wild grapes.”
The fruit that came from Judah was contrary to the seed that God planted.
God set it up for them to have it made. They had protection, they had provision, they had the blessing of God’s hand on them. But they chose to walk a different path.
In the rest of the chapter, God describes what the “wild grapes” looked like, and what the consequences will be for Israel’s choice.
Verse 5, God says that He will remove it’s hedge. The first thing that happens when a nation turns from God is He removes His protection.
When you decide to walk outside of God’s will for your life, you’re leaving His hand of protection, and walking in your own strength, not God’s.
In verse 6, God says that He will command the clouds to withhold their rain from Israel, fulfilling His promise from Deuteronomy 28:22-24, that if they turn from God, He will turn the rain from them.
The result of Israel’s sin is judgment.
Isaiah 5:16, “But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows Himself holy in righteousness.”
This is something that we miss a lot. We talk a lot about how God is glorified in saving sinners, but we don’t often talk about this…
God is just as glorified in judging sin as He is in saving sinners.
When God judges sin, He is glorified in justice, holiness, and righteousness. When he saves sinners, He is glorified in love and grace.
So Israel will be judged. God is laying out for them ahead of time the charges that He has against them, and what the judgement will look like.
The charges and their consequences are as follows:
Verse 8: They are putting their trust in their wealth.
They are expanding their houses, and expanding their fields without any thought of God. Their wallet has become their god.
The Consequence: God will remove their wealth from them.
In verses 9-10, God promises that their houses and fields will be made desolate. Their wealth will be taken.
Verses 11-12: They chase after pleasure instead of God.
They run after strong drink. Their wine enflames them. They’ve replaced God with earthly pleasure.
This is a dangerous thing for all of us. Proverbs 31:4, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink.” The consequence of these choices clarifies the danger in them.
The Consequence: They have forgotten God, and their ignorance will lead them into exile.
They will die of hunger and thirst, they will die because of their ignorance of God and His works.
Verse 20: They call evil good, and good evil.
The standard of Israel has become warped. They no longer understand God’s standard. It sounds a lot like our nation today. We’ve turned from what Biblical marriage is. We commit millions of infant sacrifices to the god of convenience, justified with the term “abortion” instead of murder.
Verse 21: They are wise in their own eyes.
The reason that they have lost their perspective of God’s standard is because they have elevated their wisdom over God’s. They are convinced that they know better than God.
Verse 22: They are heroes and valiant men at drinking wine and mixing strong drink.
The thing that they pride themselves in is their ability to consume alcohol.
It is a dangerous thing to take pride in ability to sin.I’ve heard people brag about how many shots they can do, or how many women they’ve slept with. It breaks my heart. They take pride in how far from God they have become.
Verse 23: They don’t understand justice.
“They acquit the guilty, and they deprive the innocent of his right”
Their idea of what justice looks like has become perverted.
The Consequence: God will show them what justice looks like.
Their actions will receive swift judgement from God, as He uses the nations around them to humble them, and remove the blessings that they have received.
Why would God do that? Why wouldn’t He just “smite” them with bolts of lightning without warning?
God’s warning in Isaiah 5 is a call to repentance. He tells them of these charges against them, and warns them of the consequences that will follow to give them a chance to turn back to Him before the consequences arrive.
So today, if you find yourself in one of these places, set against God, and His standard.Turn back to Him today! Don’t wait for the judgement to arrive, don’t wait for your sin to catch up with you. Repent. Turn around and run back to God.
This is why Jesus came, so that we could have an escape from our sin, and have an alternative direction to turn. We can come to God, because He came to us.