When God’s Love Is Refused

MEMORY VERSE: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” —Isaiah 5:20

ISAIAH 5:1-7, 20, 21

ISAIAH served as a prophet in the southern kingdom of Judah, of which Jerusalem was the capital. His call into the ministry is recorded in the sixth chapter, where he tells of a vision in which he sees the Lord “high and lifted up.” A requisite to all true service of the Lord is an appreciation of his greatness and holiness.

Isaiah was one of God’s “holy prophets,” as were all the Old Testament seers. The Apostle Peter explains that all these holy prophets foretold the coming “times of restitution of all things.” (Acts 3:19-23) This is a reference to God’s design to restore the human race to that life on earth which was lost as a result of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Isaiah’s prophecy contains many references to this blessed time when, by divine power, the sick will be made well, and the dead awakened from the sleep of death.

In chapter 25, verse 8 we have the assurance that the Lord will “swallow up death in victory” and will “wipe away tears from off all faces.”

Chapter 35 forecasts the opening of blind eyes and the unstopping of deaf ears. It also describes the restoration, or restitution, of the human race as a returning of “the ransomed of the Lord” being all who were ransomed by the death of Jesus as the Redeemer and Savior of the world.

In chapter 65 we read again of happy times to come, and here the prophet declares that then the people will “build houses, and inhabit them,” and “plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them,” and will long enjoy the work of their hands.

This blessed work of “restitution” is to be accomplished, according to the Scriptures, through the agencies of Christ’s kingdom. In the Bible this kingdom is symbolized by a mountain, and Isaiah assures us that nothing shall “hurt nor destroy in all this holy mountain.”—Isa. 11:9

As with all the holy prophets, God also used Isaiah to censure Israel for her sins, and to forecast the ultimate downfall of the nation as a punishment for disobedience to his laws. In today’s lesson this message is conveyed by means of a parable in which the nation is likened to a vineyard which, while planted by the Lord, brings forth wild grapes, and is therefore destroyed.

A similar parable was given by Jesus, but with more details. (Matt. 21:33-43) In this parable Jesus may well be identifying the real fulfillment of Isaiah’s parable, in that he indicates also the unfaithfulness of the Israelites in rejecting their prophets and finally God’s own beloved Son, and as a result have the “kingdom” removed from them. True, much tribulation came upon Israel prior to this, but as the Lord’s “vineyard” they were not destroyed until their unfaithfulness led to the rejection of their Messiah.

The destruction of the Lord’s “vineyard” is clearly shown in the parable: “I [the Lord] will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge [protection] thereof, and it shall be eaten up: and break down the wall thereof, and it shall he 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.”—vss. 5,6

There can be no doubt as to who is represented by this vineyard. The prophet wrote: “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 nature of Israel’s sins is symbolically described in our memory verse. In this text we are reminded of the fact that there are those who refuse to face up to the truth, and to govern their lives accordingly. For the normal person it should not be difficult to distinguish darkness from light unless there is a deliberate effort to misrepresent the facts.

The professed people of God should likewise be able to discern between good and evil. But those who prefer the evil might well convince themselves that their evil is really good.


As one of God’s holy prophets, what important feature of God’s plan did Isaiah forecast? Give examples.

Who is represented in the vineyard parable of today’s lesson?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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