In this study, we shall be considering the story of an unproductive vineyard which significantly represents the individual Christian from a narrow perspective and widely, the church as a whole. The story of a vineyard that had many advantages! It belongs to a loving person (my well-beloved). No possession is dearer to a man than a vineyard and at the same time the one that demands more constant and persevering toil. Here, we are portrayed as God’s beloved inheritance and that’s who we are! The question is “HOW AM I PAYING GOD BACK FOR HIS GREAT AND SURPASSING LOVE?” May God grant us deeper understanding of this topic in Jesus name.
“We are dealing here with something worse than unfruitfulness. The New Testament also speaks of a faith that brings forth fruit, but the fruit is dead works, which pollute the air like a cadaver. The wolfsbane, or wild vine (2 Kings 4:39), does bear beautiful berries, but they are bitter, foul-smelling and poisonous in nature. This is a precise description of the self-willed and false religion of the unfaithful covenant people.” (Bultema)
HIS SURPASSING LOVE COMPARED
(i) His well-beloved (vs 1)
(ii) His vineyard (Vs 1)
“No possession is dearer to a man than a vineyard, and there is none that demands more constant and persevering toil. Not only, therefore, does the Lord declare that we are his beloved inheritance, but at the same time points out his care and anxiety about us.” (Calvin)
IN PARABLE (HIS INVESTMENTS ON THE VINEYARD)
(i) Positioned on a very fruitful hill (i.e. on a ground carefully prepared) vs 1b
(ii) He fenced it (assurance of protection) vs 2
(iii) Removed its stones (assurance of itch-free growth) vs 2
(iv) Planted it with choicest vine (assurance of the Lord’s good thought & purpose for our life)
(v) Well built tower in it (assurance of guardians)
(vi) Valued winepress therein (i.e. for the fruits to be processed) – assurance of usefulness and productiveness/beneficial
(i) Wild grapes for the expected good grapes vs 2b
Wild grapes mean that the vineyard produced just what you would expect it to produce if nothing had been done to it. All the love, care, time, work, and investment resulted had no result.
(ii) The pain suffered and the need for judgment (between the owner and the vineyard)
(iii) The what else question in His mind (vs 4)
“I have been thinking of the advantages of my own position towards the Lord, and lamenting with great shamefacedness that I am not bringing forth such fruit to him as my position demands. Considering our privileges, advantages, and opportunities, I fear that many of us have needed to feel great searching of the heart.” (Spurgeon)
THE HIS RESSOLUTION (CONSEQUENCES)
(i) Removal of its hedges (protection) vs 5
(ii) Exposed to dangers (eaten up and broken down)
(iii) The danger of becoming desolate (trodden upon and laying it waste) vs 5 & 6
(iv) Out of maintenance and care (not pruned nor dug)
(v) Out-covered with stoppages and its growth hindered (vs 6)
(vi) Closed heaven on it (no blessings and divine connection anymore)
THE WHY??? What have I done wrong?
(i) Wrong and partial judgment (upon the homeless, orphans, fatherless, widow, etc
(ii) Oppression – of the poor, the helpless & children
(iii) Unrighteousness in all spheres – towards God and our fellow men
The fault lies with man, not God. “It will be seen then… that every soul of man had the chance of becoming a fruitful vineyard; and if it became the reverse, it was due to no failure in either the wisdom or grace of God.” (Meyer)
OK, WHAT MUST I DO?
“Has it been so with us? Have we rewarded the Well-beloved thus ungratefully for all his pains? Have we given him hardness of heart, instead of repentance; unbelief, instead of faith; indifference, instead of love; idleness, instead of holy industry; impurity, instead of holiness?” (Spurgeon)
(i) Always appreciate God’s wonderful works and His investments upon your life
(ii) Strive to bear good fruits (be fruitful)
(iii) Pursue good judgment and righteousness while avoiding oppression
It is possible for God to do a work in His people, but for His people to receive that work in vain, that will be much more pathetic. Paul warned us of this.
We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1)
Many discouraged children of God wish the LORD would stop pruning, stop digging, stop watering. Those things may be hard, but it is even worse when the LORD stops doing them!