Isaiah 5: Bible Study Guide.

23-BSG-5A: WORSHIP GUIDE.

A Worship Guide corresponding with the today’s Bible Reading Plan: Isaiah 5/ Theme: Israel rebuked by the Parable of a Vineyard/ 23-BSG-5A, (Isaiah 5:1-7)/ Hymn: When Jesus shall gather the nations [Author: Harriet B. McKeever]

EXPLORATION: Parable of the Vineyard Owner and the Wicked Husbandmen – (Isaiah 5:1-7; Mt 21:33-46; Mark 12:1–12; Luke 20:9–19; Rom 12:16; 1 Cor 3:18-20).

REFLECTION: The first portion of this chapter highlights a poem, a love song (Isa 5:1-7). Isaiah uses the metaphor of a vineyard to describe God’s care for Israel. This poem resembles the NT parable of the tenants (Matt 21:33–41). From vv. 8-30, the prophet then delineates some of the sour grapes produced by that  vineyard. “The reality behind the vineyard metaphor is brought to light with six woes found in Isa 5:8, 11, 18, and 5:20–22. The woes highlight various ways that injustice and unrighteousness have overtaken the land. (Faithlife Study Bible).

Let us look at this parable briefly. First, God planted His vineyard. He chose a very fertile hill; He cultivated and removed all stones; He planted the choicest vine. He then built a watchtower to protect it; He also built a winepress (Isa 5:1-3). Secondly, God was utterly disappointed because the vineyard bore wild grapes. So He appealed to the people of Judah to consider the case themselves –“And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes?” (Isaiah 5:3–4, NKJV)

Third, God judged the vineyard. He will remove its protection, hedge and wall. It will be destroyed, trampled upon. He will also make it ‘a wasteland’ (Isa. 5:5-6). “God would remove His protecting hand from His people and allow their enemies to despoil and scatter them. As a result of transgression the vineyard will become a desolate waste…. This prophecy was fulfilled when in the days of Isaiah the Assyrians attacked and made Judah a desolate land. Later, Babylon also rendered Judah a waste land. Finally the nation was subjugated by Rome.” (SDA BC 4:122). Fourth, God identified the vineyard and wild grapes. The vineyard is Israel and Judah. The wild grapes — God expected justice and righteousness but instead, He saw violence and lawlessness; oppression and distress.

DEVOTIONAL IMPLICATION: Grapes. “The vineyard was planted for the purpose of bringing forth fruit, as was the fig tree in the parable of Luke 13:6–9 (see Matt. 21:19, 34). The grapes represent the fruitage of character, a reflection of the divine character Israel was to exhibit before the world (see pp. 27–30).” Wild grapes. “Instead of producing the fruits of the Spirit, Israel brought forth fruits of the flesh (see Gal. 5:19–23). Deeds of cruelty and injustice, dishonesty and deception, intemperance and immorality, a disregard for the rights of the poor and distressed, the taking advantage of widows and orphans—these were the evils the prophets constantly rebuked; these are the “wild grapes” here mentioned.” (SDA BC 4:122).

THE GOSPEL’S VOICE: This section is written as if God were speaking directly to you—Because He does. What does the Lord say to me this morning? My son, after much cultivation of My vineyard, I expected a plentiful product of the best kind of grapes from you; but what did I get instead? Grapes of Sodom, and clusters of Gomorrah (as I complain in Deut. 32:16-18). The fruit that I anticipated in you was ‘Justice’ (righteousness), but instead I see: hatred, violent bloodshed and lawlessness; I expected ‘Righteousness,’ but instead I hear ‘a cry of distress and oppression’ (Isa. 5:7) among the poor. Oh that you would repent now! What I need from you to is to produce “fruit that is consistent with repentance (demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin) –Mt 3:8, AMP. Would you commit to bear good fruit in My vineyard today?

My Desire: By God’s grace, I want to bear good fruits– “But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit (the work which His presence within accomplishes) is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,” (Galatians 5:22, AMP) AND defend the rights of the poor, the disadvantages.

Have A Blessed Day: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27, NKJV)

23-BSG-5B: PRAYER GUIDE.

A Prayer Guide corresponding with the today’s Bible Reading Plan: Isaiah 5/ Theme: Repentance /23-BSG-5B, (Isaiah 5:2)/ Key Text: “He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it; So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes.” (Isaiah 5:2, NKJV)/ Hymn: “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling” [Author: Will L. Thompson (1880)]

Focus: God’s protecting Hand may be withdrawn.

Opening Remarks: “God made a fence round about it [His vineyard], i.e., He distinguished His people from all other nations by peculiar laws, statutes, and observances, not only in religion, but even in civil life, in their very diet and conversation, so that it was impossible for them to remain Jews, and to accompany freely with the rest of the world. He also fenced them with a miraculous protection from the invasions of their adversaries, which bordered upon them on every side.” [Joseph S. Exell, Isaiah, The Biblical Illustrator, (New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d.), 1:104]. Beloved the Lord has surrounded you with His love, goodness and mercy. What more could He had done for you to make you happy and obey Him? He planted you in His vineyard; He takes care of you – pruning—that you might bear good frits. Why aren’t you in a position to grow and enjoy His blessings in your life? The answer is sin.

Beloved, as we come to the today’s Prayer Session, we are invited to— confess and repent of our sins, or else the Lord will remove His protecting hand from us (Isa 59:1-2; Ps. 125:1-2) and allow our enemies to despoil and scatter us. “And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.” (Isaiah 5:5, NKJV) “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:5, NKJV)

Values To Build On: Confession, Repentance, Faithfulness, Obedience.

Sins To Avoid/ Confess: Forgetting God; Fruitlessness; Worldliness in thought patterns (Isa 5:20)→ Reversed concept of good and evil (calling evil good and good evil);

Something To Thank God For: [1] God’s moral attributes → Holiness (separateness); Justice [2] God’s mercy: God (the owner of the vineyard) could easily stop providing special protection to the vineyard (us), but because of His love and mercy, He continues to care for our daily needs even in those moments that we are especially estranged from Him (see Isa. 5:5); [3] God is giving us a series of Woe’s in this chapter – hopefully to arouse from our sinfulness, repent and come back to Him (see Isaiah 5:1-3, 4-6, 7, 8, 11, 18, 20–22)

People To Pray For: Backsliders — every repentant sinner has the potential to change, bear fruits and become a fruitful vineyard. “O you that profess to be his people, what more could Christ have done for you? What more could the Holy Spirit have done? What richer promises, what wiser precepts, what kinder providences, what more gracious patience?” (Spurgeon)

Issues To Pray For: God’s protecting Hand not be withdrawn from us. “What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it?” (Isaiah 5:4a, NKJV) “In the story, there was nothing left undone by the owner of the vineyard. He did all he could do. In the same way, God cannot be blamed at all for the wild grapes Israel brought forth. God did all He could do, apart from making men robots, acting apart from or against their wills.” [David Guzik, Isaiah, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible, (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2000), Is 5:3–4].

Today’s Promise: “If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:19–20, NKJV)

Action Step: Take a moment to Examine Yourself: Do you see any Specific Sins listed above in your life? If Yes; Confess and Repent right away. Remember – “Sins that have not been repented of and forsaken will not be pardoned, and blotted out of the books of record, but will stand to witness against the sinner in the day of God.” (The Faith I Live By, p. 211). Take a moment to pray for issues listed above; Pray for someone who is struggling with these sins. If you have a Prayer Request(s), kindly write it below and someone will pray for it. God Bless You!

Note: See Section 23-BSG-5Z  for a Closing Prayer.

23-BSG-5C: CHAPTER OVERVIEW.

Chapter At A Glance[1] Contents: Parable of Jehovah’s vineyard and the Six Woes upon Israel; [2] Characters: God; [3] Key Word: Woe, Isaiah 5:8; [4] Striking Verses: Isaiah 5:1-3, 4-6, 7, 8, 11, 18, 20–22.

Important Words (NKJV):

  1. [Isa 5:7] ‘oppression’ (mispah) = legal infringement; shedding of blood.
  2. [Isa 5:8] ‘woe’ (hoy) = ah! Alas!; ha! (cf. Isa 5:8, 11, 18, 20, 21, 22)
  3. [Isa 5:9] ‘hosts’ (saba) = military service; military men/ troops; heavenly bodies (cf. Isa 5:16, 24).
  4. [Isa 5:9] ‘the LORD’ (yhwh) = Yahweh (cf. Isa. 5:12, 16, 24, 25).
  5. [Isa 5:17] ‘strangers’ (gwr) = dwell as alien and dependent.
  6. [Isa 5:24] ‘the chaff’ (hasa) = dried grass, foliage.

Issues For Further Study: Parable of the Vineyard; Exile in Assyria; Fruit of Holy Spirit; Land as a divine responsibility; Woes in OT/ NT; Rejection of/ Results of rejection of God; Backsliding of Israel; Counsels and Purposes of God; Prophecies, Reproofs, and Exhortations of Isaiah; Divine Judgments.

Commentaries by Theme: Mic 2:2;Ps. 28:5;

New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Mt 21:33-46; Rom 12:16; 1 Cor 3:18-20.

Similar Commands: Isa 66:5; 46:10-11; 43:26-28; Acts 4:19; 1 Cor 10:15.

Parallel Passages: Old Testament Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament

  • Isaiah 5 — (Is 5:1 || Lk 20:9; Is 5:1–2 || Mt 21:33 || Mk 12:1; Is 5:9 || Jas 5:4; Is 5:21 || Ro 12:16)
  • Matthew 21 — (Is 5:1–2 || Mt 21:33)
  • Mark 12 — (Is 5:1–2 || Mk 12:1)
  • Luke 20 — (Is 5:1 || Lk 20:9)
  • Romans 12 — (Pr 3:7 || Is 5:21 || Ro 12:16)
  • James 5 — (Ge 4:10 || Le 19:13 || Dt 24:14–15 || Ps 18:6 || Is 5:9 || Mal 3:5 || Jas 5:4)

23-BSG-5D: CHAPTER INTRODUCTION.

“In this chapter the prophet, in God’s name, shows the people of God their transgressions, even the house of Jacob their sins, and the judgments which were likely to be brought upon them for their sins, I. By a parable, under the similitude of an unfruitful vineyard, representing the great favours God had bestowed upon them, their disappointing his expectations from them, and the ruin they had thereby deserved (v. 1–7). II. By an enumeration of the sins that did abound among them, with a threatening of punishments that should answer to the sins. 1. Covetousness, and greediness of worldly wealth, which shall be punished with famine (v. 8–10) 2. Rioting, revelling, and drunkenness (v. 11, 12, 22, 23), which shall be punished with captivity and all the miseries that attend it (v. 13–17). 3. Presumption in sin, and defying the justice of God (v. 18, 19). 4. Confounding the distinctions between virtue and vice, and so undermining the principles of religion (v. 20). 5. Self-conceit (v. 21). 6. Perverting justice, for which, and the other instances of reigning wickedness among them, a great and general desolation is threatened, which should lay all waste (v. 24, 25), and which should be effected by a foreign invasion (v. 26–30), referring perhaps to the havoc made not long after by Sennacherib’s army.” [Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 1085].

23-BSG-5J: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.

SEEING WHAT’S THERE — [1] What is the main content of this chapter? Israel rebuked by the parable of a vineyard; Six Woes –(coming judgments) upon Israel.

[2] What does the chapter say about God? Jesus is called the “true vine” (John 15:1–8) who gives new life and abundant fruit to all the branches of the vine (cf. Isa. 27:2ff.; Jer. 2:21; Ps. 80:8).

CAPTURE THE ESSENCE — [3] How does the chapter begin? Isaiah begin by singing a love song to the Lord Jesus Christ. — “Let me (as God’s representative) sing of and for my greatly Beloved (God, the Son) a tender song of my Beloved concerning His vineyard (His chosen people). My greatly Beloved had a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. [S. of Sol. 6:3; Matt. 21:33–40.]” (Isaiah 5:1, AMP)

[4] For the major part, the Book of Isaiah is prophetic, not poetic. But at the beginning of this chapter, we see a parable, a song.  Why the sudden shift to a love song? (5:1)

“This parable was put into a song that it might be the more moving and affecting, might be the more easily learned and exactly remembered, and the better transmitted to posterity; and it is an exposition of the song of Moses (Deu. 32), showing that what he then foretold was now fulfilled. Jerome says, Christ the well-beloved did in effect sing this mournful song when he beheld Jerusalem and wept over it (Lu. 19:41), and had reference to it in the parable of the vineyard (Mt. 21:33, etc.), only here the fault was in the vines, there in the husbandmen.” [Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 1085].

[5] Who is likened to a vineyard? God’s chosen people (Israel, Judah); and Us by extension (see John 15:1-6) “In the parable, the vineyard represented the nation of Israel, and the vineyard’s failure, in spite of all that was done for it, pictured Israel’s failure in spite of its privileges.” (John G. Butler).

[6] Instead of bring forth good grapes what did the vineyard bring forth? (5:2, 4) Worthless fruits

[7] Why did Isaiah focus so much on issues of justice? (5:7) “The Hebrew word for justice refers not only to legal matters decided by courts but also to all matters of right behavior and proper treatment of people. God is concerned about all human behavior—right and wrong—in our personal lives, family interactions, neighborhoods, general society and so on.” (NIV Quest Study Bible Notes)

[8] “Woe (judgment is coming) to those who join house to house and join field to field (to increase their holdings by depriving others), Until there is no more room (for others)” – Isaiah 5:8.

Is productivity a bad thing? (5:8) “It is bad when the desire to accumulate wealth possesses people and causes them to walk over others. God’s property laws provided for land to remain permanently within families (Lev 25:23; Num 27:1–11). Like King Ahab, who coveted and seized Naboth’s vineyard (1Ki 21:1–16), many in Judah had become land grabbers, caring only for themselves in their mad pursuit of pleasure. Justice, love and respect for others had been sacrificed on the altar of pleasure, self and greed.” (NIV Quest Study Bible Notes)

[9] The reality behind the vineyard metaphor is brought to light with six woes found in in this chapter. The woes highlight various ways that injustice and unrighteousness have overtaken the land. What are the six woes? Can you mention them? Yes.

  1. “Woe to those who join house to house and join field to field until there is no place for others and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land!” (Isaiah 5:8, AMP)
  1. “Woe unto those who rise early in the morning, that they may pursue strong drink, who tarry late into the night till wine inflames them!” (Isaiah 5:11, AMP)
  1. “Woe to those who draw [calamity] with cords of iniquity and falsehood, who bring punishment to themselves with a cart rope of wickedness,” (Isaiah 5:18, AMP)
  1. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20, AMP)
  1. “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and prudent and shrewd in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:21, AMP)
  1. “Woe to those who are mighty heroes at drinking wine and men of strength in mixing alcoholic drinks!—” (Isaiah 5:22, AMP)

[10] Why did God’s people go into captivity? (5:12-13) Because of rebellion. They did not regard nor even pay attention to the deeds of the Lord; They did not consider the works of His hands; they were allowed to go into exile because “they lacked knowledge of/ about God.”

“In their wild and wanton revels the consciences of these gluttons became seared, truth and right were forgotten, and their hearts were opened to every form of evil. Lust took the place of love, and violence and terror the place of righteousness.” (SDA BC 4:124).

[11] How did  the people of Judah reveal their lack of knowledge about their God? (5:7, 12-13) By persisting in evil.

“Sin is folly. Those who engage in sin show themselves not to be wise, but foolish. Sin pays wages, not of prosperity, peace, and honor, but of ignominy, woe, and death. He who chooses sin, chooses death. Clearly and repeatedly God had pointed out what the results of transgression would be. Also, past experience had frequently shown the terrible fruitage of disobedience. Now the people of Israel and Judah were revealing their complete lack of “knowledge” by persisting in evil and thereby ensuring their own destruction. They were “destroyed for lack of knowledge,” because they had “rejected knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).” (SDA BC 4:124).

[12] “But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, And God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.” (Isaiah 5:16, NKJV) Why would Judah’s judgment exalt God? “Because Judah’s punishment was deserved. It was right, and therefore honoring to God, that this sinful people be punished. God’s judgment revealed his holiness as well as his power to act according to his character. Judging sin is consistent with who God is.” (NIV Quest Study Bible Notes)

[13] Why condemn those who wanted to see God’s work? (5:18–19) “They were condemned because they were not sincere; their words dripped with deceit, scorn and sarcasm. They had grown so arrogant that they even mocked God’s power and holiness. Because they had prospered in their sin, they did not believe God was capable of judging them.” (NIV Quest Study Bible Notes)

23-BSG-5K: DISCUSSION QUESTIONS.

TO THINK ABOUT AND DISCUSS: [1] What would you say is the brightest promise in this chapter? What are the most fearful warning? What are the  most powerful vision of a future day? What is the most painful accusation? What is the sharpest picture of punishment and disaster?

[2] “So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes.” (Isaiah 5:2b, NKJV) “Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart];” (Matthew 3:8, AMP) Righteousness is the “good fruit” which God wants most to harvest in your life. How can you (a sinner) be in right terms with God (who is holy)?

FOR FURTHER STUDY: Israel was “a very fruitful hill” (Isaiah 5:1). “Israel was given many advantages to help them live godly, but, like many today, they did not use their advantages and privileges to honor the Lord but only to honor themselves.” (John G. Butler) What kind of advantages and privileges we enjoy as God’s purchased people? How can we misuse those privileges?

The message of Isaiah 5:2 stresses how God did everything possible to make His chosen people a wonderful and productive vineyard. The prophet note for us five major items of preparation.

  1. The wall/ fence (5:2);
  2. The gathering out of the stones (5:2). “Stones were removed from the ground to aid in the productiveness of the vineyard. Removing stones is hard work. God went to a lot of work to provide for the Israelites and to make them a choice nation.” (John G. Butler)
  3. The planting of the best vines in the vineyard so it would produce the best grapes (5:2)
  4. The building of the watch tower in the midst of it (5:2). “A tower was where a watch was located to see any who would try to enter the vineyard and do damage.” (John G. Butler)
  5. The making of the winepress (5:2). This was where the grapes would be harvested and made into wine.

Likewise, God has given to us every divine resource –(Prayer: access to God/ the Holy Spirit within us) –to ensure that we succeed in our calling or our life endeavors, given that what we do, we do according to His will. Why is it then that often time we fail in almost everything we do? What’s missing? How can we have a comprehensive ‘Corrective Action Plan?’

FOR SELF-EXAMINATION: “He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it; So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes.” (Isaiah 5:2, NKJV)

“Instead of producing the fruits of the Spirit, Israel brought forth fruits of the flesh (see Gal. 5:19–23). Deeds of cruelty and injustice, dishonesty and deception, intemperance and immorality, a disregard for the rights of the poor and distressed, the taking advantage of widows and orphans—these were the evils the prophets constantly rebuked; these are the “wild grapes” here mentioned.” (SDA BC 4:122).

God the Holy Spirit desires the opposites of those acts of the sinful nature listed in Galatians 5:19–21 — fruits of the flesh. What are those opposites? love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness.

Now let review column A: The works (or, practices) of the flesh — “immorality, impurity, indecency, Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like.”

Beloved, do you see any of these things in your life? If so, seek God’s help immediately. Notice the grave danger if you won’t – “I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19–21, AMP)

FOR LIFE TODAY: What Life Lessons can you share with others from this chapter?

  1. “The harp and the strings, The tambourine and flute, And wine are in their feasts; But they do not regard the work of the Lord, Nor consider the operation of His hands.” (Isaiah 5:12, NKJV) “God gives us music and food and celebrations to enjoy, but never to enjoy apart from Him or instead of Him or in neglect of Him. He is to be at the center of all we do, all the time.” (Charles F. Stanley).
  1. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20, NKJV) “When God in His Word calls something evil, it is evil. When He labels a thing bitter, no multitude of religious authorities can make it sweet through their solemn declarations. God is our absolute authority.” (Charles F. Stanley).

FOR GOING DEEPER: It is possible for God to perform a work in His people, but His people receive that work in vain? Compare Paul’s warning –“Laboring together (as God’s fellow workers) with Him then, we beg of you not to receive the grace of God in vain [that merciful kindness by which God exerts His holy influence on souls and turns them to Christ, keeping and strengthening them—do not receive it to no purpose].” (2 Corinthians 6:1, AMP) How can we (or anyone) accept God’s favor “in vain”?

PERSONAL IMPLICATIONS: How would you summarize what this chapter tells us most about God’s purpose and plan for His people? How would you describe God’s heart for His people, as revealed in this chapter?

23-BSG-5Y: NIGHT DEVOTION.

A Night Though corresponding with the today’s Bible Reading Plan: Isaiah 5/ Theme: Calling Evil Good, and Good Evil/ 23-BSG-5Y, (Isaiah 5:20)/ Key Text: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20, AMP)

EXPLORATION: Calling Evil Good, and Good Evil — (Num. 11:5-6; Pr 24:24; Jer. 44:16-18; Jn 16:2; Rom 3:8; Warning: Pr. 16:25)

Wo unto them that call evil good … “This is the fourth class of sins denounced. The sin which is reprobated here is that of “perverting and confounding” things, especially the distinctions of morality and religion. They prefer erroneous and fake doctrines to the true; they prefer an evil to an upright course of conduct. The Chaldee renders this, ‹Wo to those who say to the impious, who are prospered in this age, You are good; and who say to the meek, Ye are impious.‘ Jarchi thinks that the prophet here refers to those who worship idols, but he evidently has a more general reference to those who confound all the distinctions of right and wrong, and who prefer the wrong.

That put darkness for light – “Darkness,” in the Scriptures, is the emblem of ignorance, error, false doctrine, crime. Light denotes truth, knowledge, piety. This clause, therefore, expresses in a figurative, but more emphatic manner, what was said in the previous member of the verse.

That put bitter – “Bitter and bitterness” are often used to denote “sin;” see the note at Acts 8:23; also Romans 3:14; Ephesians 4:31; Hebrews 12:15; Jeremiah 2:19; Jeremiah 4:18. The meaning here does not differ from that expressed in the other parts of the verse, except that there is “implied” the additional idea that sin “is” bitter; and that virtue, or holiness, is sweet: that is, that the one is attended with painful consequences, and the other with pleasure. (Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible)

“The class here represented, in order to exalt their own opinions, employ a reasoning which is not authorized by the Word of God. They walk in the sparks of their own kindling. By their specious reasoning, they confuse the distinction that God desires to have drawn between good and evil. The sacred is brought down on a level with common things. Avarice and selfishness are called by false names; they are called prudence. Their rising up in independence and rebellion, their revenge and stubbornness, in their eyes are proofs of dignity, evidences of a noble mind. They act as though ignorance of divine things were not dangerous and even fatal to the soul; and they prefer their own reasoning to divine revelation, their own plans and human wisdom to the admonitions and commands of God. The piety and conscientiousness of others are called fanaticism, and those who practice truth and holiness are watched and criticized. They deride those who teach and believe the mystery of godliness, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The principles underlying these things are not discerned by them; and they go on in wrong-doing, leaving the bars open for Satan to find ready access to the soul” (RH Dec 22, 1896).

Have a Blessed Night: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (John 3:19–20, NKJV)

23-BSG-5Z: CLOSING PRAYER.

Is there a prayer for me to pray/echo in this chapter-(Isaiah 5)? Yes.

Father, we thank You for Your Word in Isaiah chapter 5. We know from the Scriptures that Jesus Christ is the True Vine, and You are the Vinedresser. Oh how long have You desire for us to be productive and fruitful? We give You thanks for the many occasions that You have given us a second, third, even fourth chances to repent and come back to You. “If You, Lord, should keep account of and treat [us according to our] sins, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You (just what man needs), that You may be reverently feared and worshiped.” (Psalm 130:3–4, AMP)

We thank You for the heavenly resources You have given us. We thank You for the fact that the Spirit is still striving with us; convicting us of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come.

From the Scriptures, we know that any branch that does not bear fruit (that stops bearing) will be cut away; and that “every tree that does not bear good fruit” will be “cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Mt 3:10). We don’t want to be in the fire. We long to be with You in Heaven, but Father, we are very weak—for “the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (Mt 26:41). So, help us Father.

May You cleanse us and prunes us that we might continue to bear good fruits. Help us to abide in Christ and Him in us. Help us to pay attention to the Woe’s (the coming judgments) you have outlined in greater detail for us in the Scriptures. Teach us not to fear you because of those judgments, but rather plant in us an attitude of willing obedience because of Your love for us, and the best plan You have for each one of us—eternal Life.

Help us to be obedient to Your word; not to be like the Israel of old, who ended up in captivity (a situation that could have been averted simply by obedience). Help us on this day to walk with Jesus. We thank You, and we ask these things, believing and trusting, in Jesus’ name, Amen.