September 25 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?” ~Isaiah 5:4

OLD TESTAMENT

Isaiah probably exaggerates for effect in this sermon. (Hyperbole was a very acceptable sermon device.) Even so, his message is clear: You don’t give a rip about the bad things happening in the world around you (Is. 5:7-8). All you care about is making as much money as you can, so you can buy one more thing that you think will make you happy. To you, life is one big party (Is. 5:11-12)!

The prophet likens Israel to a vineyard built by God’s own hands. (And here you must try to envision a beautiful wine vineyard in California or Italy.) He cleared the ground of stones on a fertile hillside. He planted the best of vines.  He built a stately tower, a winepress, and a stoned wall. It was a handsome vineyard, and God longed for the day when he would enjoy the finest of wines from its vats. However, at harvest time he found the grapes bitter. The wine was thrown out and the vineyard destroyed! Israel is blessed (fertile soil), watched over (the tower), and protected (the stone wall), and yet she produces a galling harvest of selfishness and greed.

Pride, greed, carelessness, and every other sin imaginable destroys lives. Isaiah is a warning to a blessed people, God’s people. All of us. Do not lose sight of the God who is high and lifted up (Is. 6). Cling to Him, follow His Word, love mercy, and pursue justice. God wants our lives to produce the finest wine for our good and His glory.

NEW TESTAMENT

Some of the Christians in Galatia have abandoned the gospel of grace. They are following all the minutia of man-made rules. These are Jewish Christians observing Jewish customs like ritual cleansings, dietary laws, circumcision, feast days, Sabbath restrictions, and the like in order to be more “spiritual.” Paul does not reject the traditions themselves, but he is opposed to making them a requirement for new Christians, especially new Gentile Christians. These practices do not change hearts. They are intended to be symbols of a heart worshipping God, but they are not requirements for spirituality. As such, Paul figures people can participate or not—take them or leave them. (We will get to the apostle’s definition of spirituality in chapter 5). We are saved by grace, and we also grow by grace as we endeavor to live out the teachings of Jesus!


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.