“Let me sing for my beloved
my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.”
Greetings fellow sojourners.
For me, loving the lovable is enjoyable. Showing kindness to someone kind to me is straightforward. Being nice to the friendly requires minimal effort. Forgiving someone who has marginally hurt me is not a great challenge. Helping someone when I have the time is simple. And singing when I am happy comes naturally. The conflict arises when I must see beyond myself because a person has been unlovable, mean, or has hurt me deeply. And when it comes to singing when I am hurting? Well, how do I do that? How can I bring myself to sing when all my heart seems to want to do is wallow or stand frozen by the sting of broken-heartedness?
This song in Isaiah is directed toward God, and the vineyard represents His people. God created ideal conditions so that we would flourish. He broke up the soil and cleared away the stones. When we stub our toe on a stone that has turned up in our surroundings, we often curse the offending stone with clenched teeth and fists as if we are shocked that we should have to suffer. It may take a while (if we do it at all) for our thoughts to come around to see the need to investigate how the offending rock made its way back into our orchard or what we need to do to learn from it by submitting ourselves to the Teacher.
Even though the situation is not pleasant, the writer chooses to begin this disappointing poem with the words, “I will sing about the one I love.” What motivates him to sing? Because he knows God is good. God is good even when life does not produce the fruit we were hoping; so we sing to our Beloved. God is good even when our circumstances reveal ‘stones’ at every turn; we sing to our Beloved. God is good even when we think we have produced sweet fruit, but the ones around us only seem to produce sour fruit; we still sing to our Beloved. God is good even when the weeds grow so tall we can’t see around them; we sing to our Beloved. We can sing because GOD IS GOOD.
The Lord asked, “What more could I have done for My vineyard than I did?” (verse 4, 6) In His judgment, among other things, He determined it would no longer be pruned or weeded. Do you recall from John 15:2 that He “prunes” the branches remaining in Him so that they will produce more fruit? Submitting our ‘branches’ to the Lord for pruning is a blessing even though the discipline seems painful. We are promised, however, that later on, it will yield the fruit of peace and righteousness if we allow ourselves to be trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11). Praise God.
Therefore, sweet things, we can sing with loud, confident voices even when times are most undoubtedly difficult because God is good; so we are good. Now that, my friend, is indeed something to sing about.
In His grace,