Wednesday, September 30, 2020

September 30, 2020– Wednesday prior to Proper 22

Isaiah 5:1-7 God’s people receive judgment for evil fruit.  Confidence in violence and bloodshed leads to judgment. In the Old Testament reading, God’s judgment upon His people is shown for their failure to produce proper fruit.

The prophet sings a love song to God regarding God’s vineyard, his people. God is his “beloved.” God loves His people. Proof of this love is that God’s vineyard, His possession, is His people. Out of love, God accepts and owns His people. And look what God has done for His people! He has placed a vineyard on a fertile hill. He dug the ground, cleared away the stones, and planted it with the best vines. Then He built a watchtower and a wine vat.

God is love and He deals lovingly with His people: claiming them as His own, and providing for them by giving them the best of everything to be fruitful.

Israel’s injustice is particularized. The “bloodshed” refers to abusive practices that bleed the poor to death. The “cry” refers to their anguished response. These actions are “wild grapes” (detailed in 5:8, 11-12, 18-24). Notably, these texts link abuse of the neighbor to the neglect of God’s word and deed (see 5:12, 24).

This text may be profitably linked to New Testament texts that use agricultural images. An example: Jesus’ discourse regarding the vine and its branches, with expectations to bear fruit, and removing and burning those who do not (John 15:1-17).

See also the parable of the wicked tenants the Gospel lesson for this coming Sunday (Matthew 21:33-44).

O God, whose almighty power is made known chiefly in showing mercy and pity, grant us the fullness of Your grace that we may be partakers of Your heavenly treasures.[1]

[1] Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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