Posted by: Pauline | August 11, 2013

Scriptures for Sunday August 18

Isaiah 5:1-7

One doesn’t expect a “love-song” to go quite the way this one does. Then again, one doesn’t expect a well-tended vineyard to produce bad fruit.

The phrase “wild grapes” may sound to us like ordinary grapes that happen to be growing on their own, and there are sometimes wild berries that are superior to those that are cultivated. But the Hebrew word here clearly refers to a sort of fruit no one would want to find in their vineyard or ever consider eating. It most likely refers to a particular kind of vine that produces foul-smelling, poisonous berries that in appearance are similar to grapes.

God had given His people all that they needed, and more. They should have been growing fruitful in righteousness, but instead they were full of unrighteousness. Therefore God warns that he will tear down his vineyard, and instead of its current corrupt fruit there will instead be only briers and thorns. This suggests that the people’s defensive walls will be torn down by their enemies, and their land overrun by oppressors.

Luke 12:49-56

The things Jesus says in this passage are among the less clear of his teachings, sometimes referred to as the “hard sayings” of Jesus. But it is evident that he is not offering words of comfort or encouragement.

He knows himself what is coming, the “baptism” he refers to being his own death. For all that it is necessary, he is in great distress as he thinks of what he will go through. He also knows that things will not be easy for those who choose to follow him, as they will end up in conflict with those they would expect to be closest to, within their own families.

Much of this, his hearers should have known from the Old Testament Scriptures as well as his own teachings. But they display a dismaying lack of discernment. They observe the weather patterns and can predict what is coming. But they seem unable to understand what God is doing and will do among them.

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