Our next portion is Isaiah 5:5-10
v5: Let Me tell you what I will do: G-d speaks to the people with great sorrow. He loves them, but He is disappointed in what they’re doing. G-d now begins to speak about the consequences His people are going to face.
- Take away its hedge: A hedge is a border. G-d had marked out the boundaries of His vineyard (Ps 16:6). However, now, G-d is going to remove His protection from them. When we are walking in obedience and are fulfilling G-d’s expectations, we can expect His protection. But the converse of this statement is also true: when we’re walking in our own expectations, rebelling against the will of G-d, He is going to remove His protection from us. Throughout Israel’s history, whenever G-d removed His protection Israel’s enemies moved to attack them.
- It shall be burned: A reference to judgment.
- Break down its wall…it shall be trampled down: They have an enemy who is just waiting for the opportunity to attack – bringing sorrow, despair, adversity etc
- Trampled: We see this same thing happening in the last days. The enemy, under the leadership of the antichrist, is going to trample the holy city underfoot for 3½ years (Luke 21:24, Dan 8:13, Rev 11:2).
v6: Pruned: Noone will care for it or tend it.
- Dug: Neither will anyone soften the land – the ground will be too hard for any plants to receive water or nutrients.
- Briars and thorns: It is always a good idea to evaluate what we are producing in our lives (Haggai 1:5-7). Are we producing grapes, or are we producing thorns and thistles? How do we know? If we have joy in our lives, despite any circumstance we find ourselves in, then we know that we are in the midst of G-d’s will. If we are not experiencing joy, then we need to consider carefully that we might be outside of His will. It is when we outside of His will that we feel the pain of those thorns and thistles around us.
- The clouds…rain no rain: Biblically, rain is seen as a blessing (Acts 14:17, Lev 26:4). Not only was their protection removed, but also their ability to be fruitful, their ability to bear fruit that is pleasing to G-d.
v7: The house of Israel: When Isaiah speaks of the ‘house of Israel’ he is talking about all the Jewish people in general and not just the house of Judah. Many of the rabbinical scholars say that when Isaiah uses this phrase it has an end times context. In the last days Israel is going to be far removed from the expectations of G-d. This is why they are going to go through the time known as ‘Jacob’s trouble’ (Jer 30:7).
- The men of Judah: Now Isaiah is specifically referring to that southern kingdom.
- Pleasant: In modern Hebrew this word refers to an amusement park – a place where children play and laugh and enjoy themselves. G-d had found great delight and enjoyment in creating, blessing and placing a call upon Judah. They however did not find delight in this and, instead, rebelled against the calling of G-d in their lives.
- Looked for justice: G-d’s expectation of them was that they would be a people who administered righteous judgments in the land (pleading the case of the widow, orphan and stranger). G-d did not expect them to be people who oppressed others. Israel used the blessing, anointing, provision etc from the L-rd in order to manifest their power against others.
- Oppression: They used their power to oppress others.
- Weeping: A loud crying out. People yelling out for help.
Note: G-d was displeased because instead of justice there was oppression, instead of righteousness there was the crying out of those in turmoil, those in pain.
v8: Woe: A word which implies how awful something’s going to be unless there’s a quick change.
- Join house to house… add field to field: Talking of those who brought home after home, and land after land, in order to make their own estate larger.
- Dwell alone: Dwelling in isolation is not good for us. These people (selfishly) live in a way to isolate themselves from others.
v9: Many houses shall be desolate: These people took home after home away from the poor – ignoring their poverty. As a result, a time is coming when the big and beautiful homes are also going to face G-d’s judgment and they are going to stand empty. Noone will dwell in them (the homes in Israel were emptied when the people went into exile, into captivity).
v10: Acres…bath…homer…ephah: These are all units of measurement.
Note: Although they planted much, only a very small measurement of the produce was able to be reaped.