Sweet Or Sour?

The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada is about to launch a new service to its members.

I'm not sure if we've landed on a "real" name yet, but right now we are called Fellowship Authors. The task of Fellowship Authors is to encourage those within our Fellowship who write by providing some added exposure for their work through the Fellowship website, Fellowship publications and Fellowship 48, our National Convention.

At the moment, the members of the committee are working through a list of criteria but I know for certain that Eric Wright's recent novel, Captives of Minara, certainly meets them. Eric recently won a Word Guild award for his book, published by Word Alive Press. So check it out.

It must have been my devotional reading this morning that inspired the thought to include Eric's book in this post. The book of Isaiah is full of grim warnings about what was awaiting God's people because of their rebellion against him. Captivity, and the destruction of all Israel held dear, was quickly approaching.

One of my favourite passages (and there are some incredible gems in this wonderful book) is Isaiah 5 and the song of the vineyard. It doesn't have a happy ending, but nevertheless illustrates the great love and expectations that God had for his people.

"I will sing to the one I love
a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard
on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones
and planted it with the choicest of vines.
He built a watchtower in it
and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
but it yielded only bad fruit.

Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
What more could I have done for my vineyard
than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes,
why did it yield only bad?
Now I will tell you
what I am going to do to my vineyard:
I will take away its hedge,
and it will be destroyed;
I will break down its wall,
and it will be trampled.
I will make it a wasteland,
neither pruned nor cultivated,
and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds 
not to rain on it.

The vineyard of the Lord Almighty
is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah
are the garden of his delight.
And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
for righteousness, but heard cries of distress." 

—Isaiah 5:1-7

It would be easy to put my name in this poem in place of the references to Judah and Israel, or the name of my church, or my denomination. The truth is that God has invested a great deal in every one of us and he looks for a return on that investment.

What will be the harvest? Will the grapes be plump and sweet? Or will they be withered and sour?

The themes of justice and righteousness are closely joined in Scripture and often mentioned. God looks for those in us and often condemns their absence in the people whose history we have recorded for us in his Word.

I don't know about you but a "captivity" experience doesn't sound the least bit pleasant except in fiction. So I pray that justice and righteousness will be found in this particular vineyard of mine.


  1. LOVE Isaiah as well :)So much here. Justice and righteousness are so central.


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