Study Guide

Book of Isaiah The Vineyard

The Vineyard

A lot of churches and Christian fellowships are named "The Vineyard." The lead singer of Mumford and Sons—Marcus Mumford—is the son of pastors who run a huge and influential ministry called "The Vineyard" in England. And when Bob Dylan converted to born-again Christianity in the late '70s-early '80s, it was with a California-based church going by the same name.

You can see the reasons for this trend pretty obviously in Isaiah. God sees the entirety of his own people as being like a Vineyard, one that he intends to produce good grapes like righteousness and kindness—good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, basically. That's the ideal of the vineyard, but it ends up growing wild grapes, representing all kinds of sins.

In order to repair his vineyard—which also involves sort of destroying it—God has to make some serious alterations:

I will remove its hedge and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. (Isaiah 5:5-6)

At this moment, this sounds kind of just like ravaging the vineyard and eliminating it entirely. But later, in Isaiah 65:8, God says,

As the wine is found in the cluster, and they say, 'Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,' so I will do for my servants' sake, and not destroy them all.

So, he's less like a frustrated guy vandalizing a garden that didn't work out the way he intended. He's a lot more like a gardener, pruning out the bad parts of his garden and retaining the plants he desires: the righteousness and the good works of his people.