Summary: God expects His people to produce good fruit, and He gives this example as a warning for His people to wake up.
The superscription at the top of the page in my Bible says, "A parable of a vineyard." Parables use an obvious situation to bring out a far deeper truth. It has been said that "Parables are earthly stories with heavenly meanings."
Let me give you something about the setting of Isaiah 5. When Joshua and the people of Israel entered the Promised Land, the entire land that God gave them was called Israel, named after Jacob. Now, you will remember that God had changed Jacob's name from Jacob to Israel. Up to that point Jacob had lived up to the name, Jacob, which means, "trickster, deceiver, heel-grabber, surplanter." He had been a scoundrel in every way, but when God came and wrestled with him, and touched his life, he walked away with a limp, but more than that, he walked away with a changed name and a changed life. The Bible continues to call him Jacob to distinguish between him and the land that was called after his name, but make no mistake about it, he was never again the old Jacob. God can change anybody's life just that quickly, and just that completely. One of the most important and consequential questions you could ever ask yourself is, "Has God changed my life?"
Solomon was the third king to rule in Israel, and his reign was a time of peace and prosperity. Although Solomon was given the ultimate administrative wisdom, which is the wisdom for which he asked, that wisdom didn't carry over into the way he ruled his personal life. That truth can be seen in a number of ways, on of which is the lack of passing on good common sense to his children. His son, Rehoboam, inherited the throne of Israel, after Solomon died. Because of Rehoboam's failure to listen to wise counsel, the kingdom of Israel was split into two separate kingdoms. The northern part, which consisted of 10 tribes, that is the descendants of 10 of Jacob's sons, retained the name of Israel, and was ruled by a man named Jeroboam, who did some abominable things in the sight of the Lord. The southern part, consisting of two tribes, became known as the nation of Judah. Judah is where Jerusalem was, and Jerusalem was where the temple was located.
With the reign of Rehoboam, Israel began a spiritual downhill spiral. At the time of this text, Uzziah was king. Uzziah was a good king, for the most part, but the spiritual condition of the nation had continued its downhill slide.
In this text, God is saying that He has done everything necessary to make them the most blessed nation on the face of the earth, but they had abused His blessings.
In verse 1, we see that this parable was presented in the form of a song. It is a love song of a broken hearted lover, who in this case is the Lord God, Himself. Have you ever been hurt in love? Many of you know that no pain runs deeper, nor grieves the heart more fully than to have someone abuse the trust of your love.
The Lord refers to Himself as the planter of the vineyard, and because of time constraints, I want to give this passage New Testament, present-day application.
This vineyard, is the people of God, who in our day, is the church. This vineyard, according to verse 1 is planted in a very fruitful hill. It is in a place where the fruit should have been abundant. In Mt. 9:37-38, Jesus said, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest."
Would we be correct in saying that we live in a fruitful time and a fruitful place?
Verse 2 says, "He fenced it." He gave it protection. "He gathered out the stones." He has taken our sin upon Himself, and He has taken all the handwritings of ordinances that were against us, and nailed them to His cross. He has taken the obstacles out of the way.
"He planted His vineyard with the choicest vine." The church is built on the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. There was absolutely no better plant that could have been planted for this vineyard, that we now refer to as the church.
"He built a tower in the midst of it." The implication of that tower is that He was there to watch over it. He wasn't going to leave nor forsake this vineyard.
"He made a winepress therein." Everything was there that was needed to bring about the finished product. They could never say, "If we had this thing, or that thing, we could have been successful". It was all there.
The end of verse two says that when He inspected the fruit, with the full expectation that He should have good grapes, the vineyard had brought forth "wild grapes." Wild grapes literally means, "Stink Grapes," grapes that were completely useless and unfit for consumption.