The Wine Vat in Your Vineyard
“Let me sing now for my well-beloved a song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill. He dug it all around, removed its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine and He built a tower in the middle of it and also hewed out a wine vat in it; Then He expected it to produce good grapes, But it produced only worthless ones. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between Me and My vineyard. What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones?” – Isaiah 5:1-4
In John 15, we read about a conversation that our Lord had with His disciples the night of the Last Supper. Jesus stressed the importance of abiding in the Vine. Jesus reminded these men that as His disciples, He was the Vine, and they were the branches (John 15:5). As this conversation unfolded, it is likely that they walked from the Upper Room to the garden where Jesus would be apprehended and arrested. But during this evening walk, they would have passed by the temple. And by walking passed the temple, they would have seen a prominent symbol positioned over the temple entrance. The symbol was made of golden wire and decorative beads which were delicately twisted together to portray a massive golden grape vine. I don’t know for certain, but maybe Jesus pointed to that golden vine when He made the statement, “I am the vine.” The reason for this ornamental piece pertained to the fact that the Israelite nation throughout the Old Testament was described as God’s vineyard.
This metaphor is most evident in the parable of the vine grower found in Isaiah 5. It illustrates all that God has done for the nation of Israel. In the parable, God is the gardener, and the vineyard represents the lives of His people. He has prepared and positioned the vineyard for its greatest harvest potential. He has planted the choicest vine, built a tower in the midst, and even cut out a wine vat. He provided the resources for the fruit of the vine to prosper to its greatest potential. And after all that the vine grower had done, He expected to see healthy growth and good fruit come to fruition. But instead, the fruit that grew was bad, worthless, and useless. The fruit produced represented the lives of God’s people of Isaiah’s day. They were not honoring God to their full potential. It is almost like God was saying to the people of Israel’s day, “How could you not grow considering all that I have done around you, and all that I have done to help you grow!”
Just as it carried significant meaning for God’s chosen people thousands of years ago, it carries great meaning for His children today as well. The message for your life is simply this; God expects to see good fruit grow and develop out of your life. He expects it, because of all the right conditions in which He has planted you. God is not going to force you to bear spiritual fruit. He will prepare the soil and the conditions, but you still have a responsibility to respond favorably. You need to faithfully bear spiritual fruit for the glory of God in order to reflect the glorious presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. As the great puritan preacher of yesteryear Thomas Watson put it, “Your life needs to a sparkling vessel containing the sweet wine of the Holy Spirit of God.” The only way this can happen is to be a vineyard that brings forth plush and luscious grapes pressed out by the wine vat of God’s hand. Look around you, and see where God has planted you. I am sure the conditions are favorable for a great harvest!
– Pastor Eric