“They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or see the work of His hands.”- Isaiah 5:12
Have you ever been at a birthday party where you wouldn’t even know whose birthday was being celebrated were it not for the silly cone of glitter and fuzz sitting atop the head of one of the participants? Sure, the invitations have the right name on them. The sign above the table might even have a name after the obligatory “Happy Birthday.” And then there’s the momentary interruption in the middle where candles are blown out, a 30 second song is sung, and some expected oohs and aahs are heard at the opening of the gifts. A good party, right? Except you get the feeling that the birthday was just an excuse to cut loose and have a little fun. It wasn’t really about the person at all.
In our passage today, the LORD continues his judgment upon the nation of Israel. The vineyard that he had cultivated, protected, and cared for so diligently had become a field of wild grapes. Sour, small, and scarce. This certainly didn’t keep the people from having a good time. The LORD interrupts a celebration that was supposed to be for Him in the first place and abruptly ends the festivities. The people had all the right ingredients for a good party, but they neglected the most important part. They forgot the One reason for the party. The guest of honor was not invited. Well, forgot is not really the right word for it. They conveniently left Him out.
So let us set the table. Let us sing and dance and drink and be merry. Let us gather together as often as possible. But let us not forget the reason for celebration. Let us not forget the Person who makes true feasting in a world of sour grapes even possible. Good wine comes from good grapes. And good grapes come from a good Vine.