Archive for June, 2012

Isaiah 5:8-10 Greedy Real Estate Moguls

Posted in Culture, Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2012 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 5:8-9 Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field, until there is no more room, so that you have to live alone in the midst of the land! In my ears the LORD of hosts has sworn, “Surely, many houses shall become desolate, even great and fine ones, without occupants”.

These two verses further the notion of materialism and greed. This is a theme of the era. A couple of examples include the material girls of Isaiah 3:16-24 and the corruption of the leadership in Isaiah 1:23 Your rulers are rebels and companions of thieves; everyone loves a bribe and chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, nor does the widow’s plea come before them.

Commentators (McGee, Wycliffe Bible Translators, NET Bible) have noted the underhanded deals that took place in regards to the acquisition of real estate. People’s property was acquired by forced sales and foreclosures of mortgages. And we thought this only occurred during our time. Nothing has changed. Greed always wants more and is never satisfied. It is coveting.

It is not a good day if God proclaims “Woe” in your direction. Woe can be translated many ways. Woe can mean: dead, as good as dead, poor, those doomed, judged, sure to be judged, danger awaits, grave danger, or sinful.

Owning and acquiring real estate are not bad. Using real estate and property acquired in a constructive manner are not bad. Renting, leasing, or selling those homes to others for a place to live is providing shelter. Buying land and farming the land are productive and beneficial to others.

The goal and soul purpose of these people is the acquisition of property and wealth. This is a demonstration of gross materialism and greed. No one is living in these properties. The properties are not being loaned or rented to others. This is impractical. A person can only live in one house at a time. This is selfishness. The land and property grab is to the point that all others have been pushed out. The greed is living in isolation.

The guy could have hired workers to farm the land. Employment could have been created. The land is not being farmed or leased to be farmed. The end result is poor crop yields in verse 10. “For ten acres of vineyard will yield only one bath of wine, and a homer of seed will yield but an ephah of grain.” Translated, the vineyard produces 6-12 gallons of wine. It is estimated the land produces 5-10 bushels total output. The harvest is a complete disaster.

These are nice, huge, plentiful homes. Look at the adjectives that describe these houses.

Rab: much, many, great, abounding in, more numerous than, abundant, enough, strong, greater than

Gadowl: great, large (in magnitude and extent)

Towb: good, pleasant, agreeable (to the senses), excellent (of its kind),
good, rich, valuable in estimation, becoming, better (comparative). Definitions per Strong’s Concordance.

Congratulations to the greedy.  You have won and you have the most stuff. Good for you! Your reward, God has pronounced judgment.

No More Mountains

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , on June 28, 2012 by paulthepoke

Geography Changes Coming…

Isaiah 5:6 Lessons in Gardening

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2012 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 5:6 “And I will lay it waste; it will not be pruned or hoed, but briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.”

The vineyard has gone from having the best of everything to having nothing. Care is no longer provided for Israel and destruction is coming. God is going to neglect Israel, the vineyard.

Pruning no longer takes place in the vineyard. It is a blessing to being pruned. It is how we grow. Some would think it is best to grow wildly without direction. Growth, whether it is a plant, a nation, or us personally, comes when we are pruned. It is painful to be pruned, but it is necessary.

The vineyard, or Israel, is no longer being hoed. The briars are growing and taking over. Killing off the weeds with a hoe allows the good plants to grow and thrive. Weeds take away nutrients from the soil. In this case, the thorny bushes are choking out the best grape vines.

God is in control of the weather. Rain is withheld from the vegetation. Water is life. We all know what happens when plants do not get water. Think of a yard during the summer when it is hot and dry. There has not been rain for weeks. The land is parched and cracked. The grass is dormant and yellow. The only thing that really grows is weeds. Israel became a deserted wasteland for hundreds of years.

Thorns and briars are growing in the vineyard. Thorns are a reminder and a consequence of the fall of man. It should take us back to the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:18a “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you…” This is the first time thorns are mentioned in the Bible. God states thorns are a consequence of Adam’s eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam listened to the woman instead to listening to God. God does no more than wives. Thorns were not part of Earth’s original creation. Thorns are a physical reality of not following God’s directives.

Moving forward in time, Christ wore a crown of thorns on the cross. He bore a reminder of sin on his head. He became sin for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21a He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.


Isaiah 5:3-5 The Wall of Protection Crumbles

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2012 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 5:3-5 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between Me and My vineyard. What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones? So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground.

God is calling on those who live in Jerusalem and the region of Judah to make the judgment. God is asking those who live in the vineyard to make the determination. God is asking with a rhetorical question. He has done all He can do and He has offered up the best He has.

There is expectation and accountability. God had given Israel His best and He expected productive fruit. In our world today, it is no different. God has given us His perfect and blameless Son.  He expects us to respond to what Jesus has done for us on the cross. He paid for our transgressions against God.

Israel’s response to God was stinking, wild grapes. That was their choice. God countered in return. “So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard…”

Step one; the hedge of protection will be removed by God. Scripture tells us of another situation in Job where Satan requested the hedge of protection to be removed from around Job. The hedge was allowed to be removed by God. We all know that did not initially turn out well for Job.

Step two; the wall will be broken down. Psalm 80:12-13 points out what happens when the wall comes tumbling down. A boar from the forest eats it away and whatever moves in the field feeds on it.

The result for Israel, it will be consumed and it will become trampled ground. These verses are prophetic as J. Vernon McGee points out in his commentary. Israel was subsequently invaded by Syria, Assyria, and Babylon. The place was a baron wasteland for centuries.

What about us? Does it matter how we respond to what God has given us in the person of Jesus? Does God still hold us accountable?

Posted in Uncategorized on June 13, 2012 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 5:1-2 Planting a Vineyard

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , on June 10, 2012 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 5:1 Let me sing now for my well-beloved A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.

Isaiah 5 is a Hebrew song. This is the first appearance, chronologically, of the vineyard as a symbol of Israel (Wycliffe Bible Commentary). The vineyard is the house of Israel (verse 7). The fig tree is the other botanical symbol that is used. The vineyard or Israel was placed on a “fertile” hill, fertile in the sense of generous offspring or children. In the Hebrew, the idea is the hill is horn shaped, a spur or a ridge off of a mountain peak. The ground or the soil is conducive for growth and production. The vineyard was placed on the hillside for drainage. 

Isaiah 5:2 He dug it all around, removed its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. And He built a tower in the middle of it and also hewed out a wine vat in it; then He expected it to produce good grapes, but it produced only worthless ones.

 In verse 2, God is giving the blueprint on how to build a vineyard. The excavated soil from the ditch forms the foundation for the wall. Thorny plants were placed on top of the wall to keep out wild animals. If you are going to plant a good garden or vineyard, get rid of the rocks. Jewish gardeners had use for the rocks. The land was first terraced to use up the stones that littered the soil. This provided a means of soil conservation during the heavy rains. Once the vineyard was prepared, the best type or variety of grapes was planted. In the midst of the vineyard, a watchtower was constructed. The tower served as a summer cottage. This was a place for the family to stay during the summer while the grapes were harvested. Watchtowers were typically expensive to build. They were effectively second homes.

 Inside the tower was a wine press or a vat. This was a self contained place of operation. Most of the grape juice was made into wine. This was a necessity for safety. Water was not potable unless it came from a fresh spring. Milk was limited. Fluids for consumption were limited.

Pruning was done with a small pruning hook during the winter months to get rid of weak, broken, or diseased branches so the vine would produce the best possible grapes. This process was referred to as “cleaning the vine.” New Manners and Customs of Bible Times

This vineyard had the best of the best and it was expected to produce prolifically. This was the greatest possible environment for the growing grapes. God gave His best and gave abundantly. Conditions were perfect. No expense was spared. Nation Israel was expected to produce. What did God get? Worthless, sour, wild grapes…stink berries.

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