We left Isaiah’s beloved yesterday sitting in a puddle of disappointment. Today, the beloved speaks to the people of Judah who live in Jerusalem, and asks, “What more could I have done?”
What I love about Scripture is the opportunity it gives us to reflect and engage as we read. Jesus often speaks in parables, allowing his audience to think and consider what the story might mean. Later, he reveals the meaning, and we readers get to learn. Jesus’ teaching style was built upon years and years of tradition.
Here, Isaiah’s beloved is asking the people what they think about the story. Why did the grapes come out wild rather than the choice fruit they should have been given the superb growing and cultivating conditions?
We don’t get an answer. Perhaps they are still pondering. Perhaps they have a sinking feeling that they might be more a part of the story than Isaiah is letting on.
Imagine yourself in the crowd. You’ve just heard the story of the beloved building the vineyard and, instead of a satisfying harvest, things have turned wild and useless. You heard how careful he was to build his vineyard, how much skill and expertise went into the many layers of foundation, selection, and protection. What more could he have done?
When I put myself in the crowd, I’m perplexed. Why didn’t the grapes turn out the way they should have? Was it just in their nature? From the little bit I know about gardening, it seems the beloved did everything right; I don’t think he could have done anything else.
What is it like when you sit in the midst of Scripture and wait for a word from the Lord? Have there been times when you had an inkling that you knew what God might have to say and that perhaps it would be hard to hear?
God, make us sensitive to your teaching. Draw us close as we sit at your feet and hear from your Word and your Spirit, even when it’s hard. Amen.