Isaiah 5 … Consider His Expectation

“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?”
(5:4).

Dashed expectations. It’s difficult to think of God in that light.

But here, He expresses His Expectation, leaving no room for doubt. In this beautiful song, God is the Vinedresser Who lovingly cares and tends for His vineyard, and perfectly provides everything needed to prosper. And after all He had done, what more could He have done? And because of all He had done, He had every justifiable right to Expect a harvest.

Expect: “6960. קָוָה qāwāh: A verb meaning to wait for, to look for, to hope for… The word is used to signify depending on and ordering activities around a future event (Job 7:2; Mic. 5:7[6]). The hopes of someone can remain unfulfilled, especially when a person or a nation is sinning (Job 3:9; Ps. 69:20[21]; Isa. 5:2, 4, 7),” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

Yet, despite His love and care, despite all His tender provisions and abundant favor, His Expectation of His people, that they would respond in gratitude, love, obedience and worship, was sadly and tragically unfulfilled.

Consider His Expectation

  • His Expectation: His people would be fruitful… yet they were faithless.
    • 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,
      (5:2).
  • His Expectation: His people would be righteous in character… yet they were rampant in corruption.
    • For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel
      And the men of Judah His delightful plant.
      Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed;
      For righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress,
      (5:7).
  • His Expectation: His people would glorify Him… yet they would gratify themselves.
    • Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field,
      Until there is no more room…
      (5:8).
  • His Expectation: His people would dedicate themselves to holiness… yet they would devote themselves to hedonism.
    • Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink,
      Who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them!
      (5:11).
  • His Expectation: His people would desire to know Him… yet they would devoid themselves of knowledge.
    •  Their banquets are accompanied by lyre and harp, by tambourine and flute, and by wine;
      But they do not pay attention to the deeds of the Lord,
      Nor do they consider the work of His hands.
      13 Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge;
      And their honorable men are famished,
      And their multitude is parched with thirst.
      (5:12-13).
  • His Expectation: His people would be tethered to truthfulness… yet they would be tied down in falsehood.
    • Woe to those who drag iniquity with the cords of falsehood,
      And sin as if with cart ropes;
      (5:18).
  • His Expectation: His people would surrender to Him in faith… yet they would self-righteously scrutinize His work.
    • Who say, “Let Him make speed, let Him hasten His work, that we may see it;
      And let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near
      And come to pass, that we may know it!”
      (5:19).
  • His Expectation: His people would comprehend His ways… yet they would compromise His Truth.
    • Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
      Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
      Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
      21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
      And clever in their own sight!
      (5:20-21).
  • His Expectation: His people would desire His Word… yet they would despise the Word of the Holy One.
    • Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes stubble
      And dry grass collapses into the flame,
      So their root will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust;
      For they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts
      And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel,
      (5:24).
  • His Expectation: His people would reach out to Him in humility… but now… He would He reach out to them in anger.
    • On this account the anger of the Lord has burned against His people,
      And He has stretched out His hand against them and struck them down.
      And the mountains quaked, and their corpses lay like refuse in the middle of the streets.
      For all this His anger is not spent,
      But His hand is still stretched out,
      (5:25).

How do we respond to His Expectation?

If we have placed our faith in Christ as the One Who stood in our place as the payment for our sins and took the wrath of Holy God that we deserved, we do not have to fear the final day of judgement.

For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

Surely, none of us, who belong to Him by faith, makes it our goal to dash His Expectation. But if we are honest, we know that more often than we care to admit, we are a vineyard in need of much pruning. We get caught up in the entanglements of the world and our vineyard can easily be overgrown with the weeds of worry, the undergrowth of uncertainty and the sedge of self that hinder the harvest in our lives.

But God has promised the day is coming when His Expectation will be fulfilled and the whole world will be filled with the fruit of His vineyard.

In that day,
“A vineyard of wine, sing of it!
“I, the Lord, am its keeper;
I water it every moment.
So that no one will damage it,
I guard it night and day.
“I have no wrath.
Should someone give Me briars and thorns in battle,
Then I would step on them, I would burn them completely.
“Or let him rely on My protection,
Let him make peace with Me,
Let him make peace with Me.”
In the days to come Jacob will take root,
Israel will blossom and sprout,
And they will fill the whole world with fruit,
(Isaiah 27:2-6).

But until that day, how are we to meet His Expectation in this life until He comes again? It can just feel so impossible…

When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” 26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” (Matthew 19:25-26).

We know that salvation is impossible for man. But the truth is, when we attempt to live out our salvation in our own ability, that too is an absolute impossibility, “…for apart from Me you can do nothing,” (John 15:5).

Only as we abide in Jesus will we be pruned and enabled to produce a harvest and bear much fruit; only as we abide in Jesus will His Expectation be met.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing… If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full,” (John 15:1-5, 7-11).

His Expectation can only be met as we abide in Him; and we can only abide in Him by abiding in His Word.

And when we abide in Jesus and His Word, then we too can have expectations. As we abide in Him, we can expect that His desire will become our greatest desire, and that the most valuable thing we would ever wish for would be to walk in His love, to live in obedience, and to know the joy of His Expectation fulfilled as we abide in Him and His Word.

Lord, we so desire to be fruitful and righteous in character. We so wish to glorify You as we dedicate ourselves in holiness with an ever-increasing desire to know You.
Lord, please tether us to truthfulness as we surrender to You in faith and learn to comprehend Your ways as we seek You in Your Word.
Lord, we reach out to You in humility, for we know that we will never live out Your Expectation in our own ability; for we agree with You, apart from You we can do nothing.
Lord, Jesus, please do everything in us, that our joy may be full as we abide in You, believing that You will be faithful to fulfill in us Your Expectation.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus, (Philippians 1:6).

Let’s Grow Together!

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