Summary: The relationship between God and His children is like that of a farmer and his farmland
THE VINEYARD OF GOD
God is a family man, both in the spiritual and the human senses of it. He has children born in His “own house”. There is therefore a fatherly relationship between Him and His children.
In order to show the kind of children he has, and the level of interaction between Him and them, God described them as “My vineyard” and “My people”.
What kind of a plant is the vine? It is a plant whose stem requires support and which climbs by tendrils or twining or creeps along the ground. As a result of the tender nature of the plant, it requires a lot of assistance from the husbandman for it to grow by leaning or climbing on the kind of support provided. Unlike the human farmer who cut some kind of tree for the plant to lean upon God makes Himself a solid support for His vine. Any vine that is not supported will remain perpetually on the ground trying to attach itself to any kind of support. Today many people are looking just for any kind of support, which is largely responsible for the misfortunes that have befallen the human race. God told Prophet Jeremiah:
"My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
- Jer 2:13
Almost invariably, God speaks about His people by comparing them to something, which bears a close resemblance. This is done to bring to the human understanding the precise and clearer pictures of what He wants to pass across to his listeners.
The book of Isaiah has one of the best of such close comparison of God’s people to a vineyard. Chapter five, verses one to seven can be said to be a drama of reality where God and his children are artistes as well as viewers.
Now will I sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
What could have been done more to my
vineyard that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry”
The stage is open and God appears as a dutiful farmer. He devotes much attention to His vineyard, taking care of the tender plants to ensure they get utmost protection. He wants them to live as He also lives because He created them from the dust of the earth and they were filled with His own spirit.
Like the human farmer, He is never happy seeing His plants disturbed or its growth retarded by erosion, drought or pests. Greater care is taken before the planting season to ensure adequate protection against destructive factors. The goal of every farmer is a bumper harvest.
The goal of God, the farmer, is not only a bumper harvest but also a desire to personally consume the proceeds of His farm. He does not produce cash crops. When a farmer produces to sell he may produce any kind for the market but he produces the best for himself and his household. God’s desire for you is that you become the best.
Unlike the human farmer, natural or spiritual forces cannot hinder God. He is always ensuring that His vineyard gets every necessary catalyst. But with all this assistance, human factors, i.e. his vineyard, could render God’s labour futile. It might get all the necessary assistance and yet refuse to produce a bumper harvest. The second verse of Chapter Five points out what God as a farmer does to His vineyard:
“And he fenced it, and gathered out
the stones thereof, and planted it with