Isaiah04 Shelter in a vineyard
A shelter in a vineyard
Welcome and announcements
Doxology Hymn 337:1-3 “This is the day”
Call to worship and Greeting
Hymn no 152: “When morning guilds the skies”
Prayer of adoration and Confession of sins
Declaration of pardoning
Hymn no 585: “Lord you will keep him in perfect peace”
Hymn no 459: “There’s a royal banner on display”
Offering and Dedication
While the Offering is taken up, all (remaining seated) sing) Hymn no 516 “When upon the storms of life”
Prayer of Intercession
Bible Reading Reader: Elizabeth Mitchell
Old Testament: Isaiah 1:5-9
New Testament: Romans 9:19-33
Sermon “A Shelter in a vineyard”
Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
All of us know the experience to build our own house. As children we used to make our own houses in the backyard. We built our own dwellings with tarps, sticks and pieces of planks, and we would play four days, thinking that we were the richest people in the world.
While we were in these dwellings, we enjoyed everything the world would have on offer. We were happy and content. We made our own rules, and we even cooked our own and meals.
But then, when wind started blowing, our dwellings would be blown away. All our dreams would be blown away from the face this earth too, for all we had was just a shelter in the wind. Nothing more!
This probably describes the situation of Israel in the time of the Isaiah. Isaiah in chapter 1:18 says that Zion daughter of was left is left like a shelter in vineyard and like a hut the in the field of melons, like a city under siege.
If you would ask them, they would think that they were really well off. According to their priests, everything was OK. On the outside everything was well. They still attended all their sacrifices, their Sabbaths, their New Moon Festivals. But something terrible has gone wrong. They had turned their backs on the Lord, they had spurned the Holy One of Israel and they have forsaken the Lord. In short, they had rebelled against the Lord.
That's why prophet starts with the question in verse 5: Why should you be beaten any more? Why do you persist in rebellion? They were bound in doing what was wrong in the eyes of the Lord. Rebellion here meant of breaking of illegal relationship. It is the legal reference for breaking with God. They broke God's covenant. The whole nation has transgressed and it was now in a state of being transgressors. This nation, not just any nation, was God's people, his own sons. They cast aside and loving father. Against the one that has given for all she hands on trial has rebelled. The frightening contrast stands out: God has done everything necessary to make Israel a unique nation; Israel, how ever, has chosen to act like nation that did not even know God.
In verse four God now cries out with a pain in his heart: Ah! my people. He called his people to be free, and now they have become a people loaded with guilt. Instead of the holy people they have become a brood of evildoers. Instead of being holy they have become corrupted.
In the service of last week and the weeks before that, we made mention of the covenant the Lord had made with Israel. In this covenant the Lord promised to be the Saviour of his people. He called them out of all the other nations to be his own people. He acquired them to live according to his rules. They had to obey his commands and do his will. As a result, God promised to bless them. But if they didn't obey, the Lord would turn against them and curse them.
The disobedience of Israel astonishes one. It was not as if they did not know the commands of the Lord. It was not as if the Lord was coming down upon them with something new. They knew in the commandments of the Lord. It was nothing new to Israel. Over and over again the prophets of the Lord repeated the message of God's Holiness and his righteousness.
That was exactly what and the Prophet Moses told the people just before they entered the holy land. Then when they renewed the covenant once again Moses gave them God’s stipulations for a life in relationship with Him:
The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. The LORD will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured. The LORD will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind. The LORD will afflict your knees and legs with painful boils that cannot be cured, spreading from the soles of your feet to the top of your head. Deuteronomy 28:22, 27,28, 35
God's people turn against him, now He has turn against them. There is the possibility of that one always thinks about God as the nothing of, but we forget that God is also righteous and just in what he does. His Holiness demands that he does what he warned his people against.
He punished his people. He beat them, and struck them almost mighty struck the Egyptians with the exodus. The various struck the firstborn, he killed the stock of the Egyptians, his struck them with diseases. As a matter of fact this term "strike" occurs Deuteronomy over and over again as God dealt with the enemy of his people while he saved them because of his grace. Now, because of their unfaithfulness, they were on the receiving end, not because God a deadpan, but because he had to meet his own holiness.
Yes, they were struck from the their foot for the top of their head. They were wounded and there was no one to bandage them. The result of the sinfulness also struck the country. The cities were bound the fire. God allowed the enemy to come in and strike the lands. There was no crop. The land laid waste and the enemy took whatever they wanted. They could hear the words of Moses ringing in their ears:
You will build a house, but you will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not even begin to enjoy its fruit. Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will eat none of it. Your donkey will be forcibly taken from you and will not be returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and no one will rescue them. Deuteronomy 28:30-31
Their predicament was not the result of any being political or climatic misfortune. Their problem was the fact that they turned against God and now God has turned against them. The Promised Land once overflowing with milk and honey has become a desert.
This reminds us offer of those in the book of Hebrews:
It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31
Israel became the weak nation. Many of them were taken away in captivity, and only a remnant remained. So hopeless were they that they were described as a shelter in a vineyard. The once proud and beautiful city of Jerusalem is now described as the police, a shelter. Almost like the ones in our backyard, ready to be blown over by the wind. The once green fields of Israel have now become a cucumber patch with only a hut, unprotected and dilapidated. Jerusalem was under siege.
The history of Israel is also a lesson for us today. God calls to church to be holy. God calls us to be his nation, his own people. If we'd neglect his Word, turn away from him, turn our backs on him, then we should know that we have become covenant breakers worthy of the judgment punishment of God.
God's blessing cannot rest, his church while they are covenant breakers. God's blessing cannot rest, people when they turn against his Word. In fact, the whole world will not make any sense to us for as long as we turn our backs upon God.
God's holy. God is just. God punishes the sins of his people
The grace of God