The Parable of the Vineyard (6 of 15) by Clarence E. Macartney

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The Parable of the Vineyard (6 of 15)
Series: The Parables of the Old Testament
Clarence Macartney
Isaiah 5:1-23


Imagine, if you will, a priest or a minister of religion arising in the assemblies of the French nation in wartime to announce to the government and the legislators, and passing up and down the streets of Paris to cry aloud to all the people, this message of woe and calamity: ''France is strong but not righteous; she is patriotic but does not fear God; she is rich, but not true. For all this she is to be punished. Her fair kingdom will be overrun and devastated by the enemy, for the anger of God is kindled against the nation.''

Imagine the storm of rage and protest that would break over his head, the cries of ''traitor'' and ''patricide'' that would go up, the scorn and obloquy which would attend him wherever he went, the danger his very life would be in from the rage of the mobs, and you will understand the position of Isaiah, a young prophet, an intense patriot, a lover of Jerusalem, when he informed her king, her counselors and her people that the proud nation of Judah, still glittering in the glory of Uzziah's great reign, with one of the largest standing armies in the world, with a mighty array of new military inventions-huge pieces of artillery which could batter down any fortifications-and withal, riches, wealth, splendor, prosperity, the show and panoply of power, was corrupt at heart and abounded in oppression and brutal tyrannies and all unrighteousness, and therefore God would deliver her over to her foes; that He would call a great nation from the north to crush and humiliate her.

The stern and terrible content of his prophecy may perhaps account for the way in which Isaiah introduces himself and his message of approaching doom. When God sent Nathan to rebuke David for his sin, and pronounce doom upon him and his house, how the sword should never depart from it, Nathan commenced with a parable as gentle as if it had fallen from the lips of the Master of parables Himself. He disarmed the apprehensions of the guilty king and skillfully led him on until he showed him that the sin he had so denounced was his very own. ''Thou art the man!'' Isaiah used a like method. He begins with a song, and the burden of the song is the story of a vineyard. ''Let me sing for my beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard.''

A friend of his had a vineyard in a very fruitful hill. The hillside was kissed each day by the southern sun, the soil was favorable for the vine, well watered, and, moreover, there were other vineyards in that same locality which were doing well, and yielding some thirty, some sixty, and some even a hundred fold. As soon as the land was his, he sent his servants to dig it and turn up the earth and pick out the stones. Then he went to the nursery of the husbandmen and purchased the choicest vines, no ordinary vines, but the best that money could buy, the vines for which Eschol and Ephraim were n ...


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