Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Book Of Isaiah. Day 115, Israel: The Lord's Vineyard

In today's segment of Chapter 27 the Lord speaks of Israel as His vineyard. This is not the only time in the Bible where we find Israel referred to as a vineyard and the Lord referred to as its husbandman: the One who planted it, the One who feeds it, the One who prunes it, the One who protects it. The Lord Jesus used this analogy in one of His parables, and that particular parable painted the vineyard in a bad light, for it was being unproductive. But Isaiah's vision of Israel as the Lord's vineyard looks ahead to a later time than the era of Jesus Christ. 

In Jesus' day the comparison of the nation to a vineyard was an indictment against the people's unbelief, since so many rejected Him and His message. But Isaiah foresees a day when no one in the nation will be spiritually unproductive again. He is speaking of the eternal era of the Lord's reign over the earth, which is a subject he spoke about at great length in our previous chapter.

We know this because our text begins with the phrase "in that day", which is a reference back to yesterday's text in which the Lord forever abolished upon the earth all temptation and all sin and rebellion. In our last study session the Lord put Satan and his minions in prison forever and He put death to death. When the Lord has done that, no one will ever reject Him again, and all who are upon the earth are those who love and serve Him, and they will enjoy peace and joy forevermore in His presence.

"In that day---'Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, the Lord, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it.'" (Isaiah 27:2-3) The Lord is the Founder, Protector, and Defender of Israel. He always has been and He always will be. While it's true that on the pages of the Bible He did at times allow enemies to trouble or defeat the nation, (due to idolatry), He never allowed anyone to make an end of the descendants of Jacob and He never will. The day Isaiah foresees is the day which the Apostle Paul also foresaw when he said, "All Israel will be saved." (Romans 11:26) 

Isaiah and Paul both envisioned Israel becoming a spiritually fruitful nation in every way. The Lord Jesus spoke of the nation as being unfruitful in His day; Isaiah could have said the same about the northern kingdom of Israel in his day and about many in the southern kingdom of Judah as well. But a day is coming when the Lord will sing for joy about this vineyard and its fruitfulness.

We must not take on a judgmental attitude about the idolatry that took place in the Old Testament (when people rejected God the Father in favor of pagan gods) or about the rejection of God the Son that took place in the New Testament. We cannot be judgmental unless we have never sinned---and we all know we have sinned. Anytime we've placed someone or something ahead of the Lord, we have been operating in a spirit of idolatry. And during the years before we were saved, were we not rejecting the Lord? We cannot look down on anyone for their sins since we are not sinless ourselves. I am of Gentile heritage and there is absolutely no doubt that my ancestors were spiritually unfruitful. They bowed to images and made sacrifices and offerings to deities that don't exist. I can't brag about them or about my own past, much less look back at the sins that took place in Israel and Judah and shake my head over them.

No enemy will ever confront Israel again in the everlasting era Isaiah foresees. If any enemy existed, the Lord would trample it fiercely under His feet. He is no longer angry with any of the sin or idolatry that took place in Israel. Those things no longer exists and He has put those things out of His mind forever. This is why He declares to them that if anyone or anything existed that wished them harm, He would destroy that person or thing. "I am not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting Me! I would march against them in battle; I would set them all on fire. Or else let them come to Me for refuge; let them make peace with Me, yes, let them make peace with Me." (Isaiah 27:4-5)

There are no enemies of Israel in the world in that day and there never will be again, but the Lord paints a colorful picture of exactly what He would do to defend the nation if He had to. He also paints a picture of the salvation of the Gentiles when He says, "Let them come to Me for refuge; let them make peace with Me." Gentile nations were the enemies of ancient Israel. Gentiles are the people who have persecuted the Jews throughout the eras. But in the eternal reign of the Lord over the earth, the Gentile believers and the people of Israel will be at peace with each other. They will be at peace with each other because so many Gentiles will have made peace with God and will consider themselves the brothers and sisters of those of Jewish heritage, for all believers will be the children of God and will be of one united family.

Israel will be the crown jewel of the world---the capitol of the world---and will be a blessing to the entire world. Today's passage closes like this: "In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom, and fill all the world with fruit." (Isaiah 27:6)

Right now we are hearing alarming stories in the news about the angry and sometimes violent demonstrations of anti-Semitism in the United States and in other countries. The spirit of anti-Semitism has existed for many ages past and has reared its ugly head in particularly atrocious ways a number of times. But a day will come in which the Lord judges all such attitudes and actions against the descendants of Jacob. And after that judgment, no spirit of anti-Semitism will ever exist in the world again. Instead, the nation of Israel will be admired above all others. 

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