Isaiah 5 – The Danger of Blessings
Abundance without thankfulness can lead to ruin. Therein lies the danger of blessings, as found in Isaiah 5. History has proven man’s devastation in letting prosperity consume him.
In Isaiah 5, God paints a parable through the prophet’s words to warn His beloved people. He has put up red flags around His provisions. They shout to the privileged readers of old and of today, “Danger! Danger if misused!” I’m afraid that too often this part of Scripture sounds like our modern culture in America and in the church.
God’s Wasted Vineyard
God begins to tell a sad tale of a wasted vineyard. He uses the story to relate to real life heart attitudes of His people.
“Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.” (Isaiah 5:1-2)
He did all He could be set the stage for a fruitful field, and yet the field only brought rebellion. How could this be? This is where we see a lesson in the danger of blessings.
The Danger of Blessings – Isaiah 5
Like the vineyard, we too have been so privileged. We have been given everything we need for a healthy, growing spiritual life to be possible. We lack nothing. God, the Master Husbandman, has done all the work necessary for our spiritual life to exist. Not just to exist but to thrive on top of that!
Verse 4 says, “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?…” As God, there is nothing He could have left out necessary for us because He is perfect. Not only the necessary things but loads of blessings we don’t even deserve. Remember the list of heavenly blessings found in Ephesians chapter 1?
In the parable of the vineyard, God’s blessings and abundance were selfishly used for other means outside of His original design. The rest of verse 4 states, “…wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?” Wild grapes grow wherever and however they like. Wild grapes are not sweet, nor profitable for anything.
Foolishly, we think that God’s privileges, abundance, and blessing could be better used elsewhere. We err in thinking our plans for His provision are superior to His purposes; or, we think that His blessings are His stamp of approval to do as we please. The Galatian church also struggled with using the liberty in Christ for selfish gain and means to sin.
Beware, lest in the midst of blessing we ruin it with selfish purposes. What danger of blessings is found in pride! We ought not accept His blessings with an entitlement mentality. Too often, we are more concerned with the gift than the Giver.
The Pride of Twisted Thinking
Disillusion is brought by forging our own way. Verses 20, 21, and 24 spell out the destruction of prideful thinking.
- “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil…”
- “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes…”
- “…because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”
This thinking stems from a low view of God and a too lofty view of self. Verse 15 shows us, “And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:” One chapter later, Isaiah saw those priorities put back in place. He saw the holiness of God which in turn magnified his own sinful humanity.
Until we also come face to face with the holy God, we tend to pursue our own way. There is danger in making a vain show of your sin. Parading the blessings of God with no shame of its misuse is like a slap in the face of God. Verse 18 visualizes it like pulling it around being roped to a parade cart. “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope.”
Being blessed and having provisions are not wrong in and of themselves. The Bible says in James 1:17 that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” So many Christians live comfortably in their abundance, never dreaming of its true purpose. God wants them to actually use these things unselfishly!
- Checking Accounts
- Talents and Skills
Are these not given to serve God with instead of ourselves?
Provoking the Hand of God
God is too holy and righteous to be treated lightly. A good portion of this chapter deals with what God will do to set things straight. (See verses 13, 14, 15, and 25) We cannot assume that God will let it go unjustified. In the end, He will put all back in its proper place.
God is a just God, therefore consequences must be dealt out. What more is He to do and still be just? (See verse 4 again.) He must lay waste the life that squanders His blessings.
Does this mean angry annihilation on God’s part every time? No. His judgment could be traumatic, like a car accident, etc. His judgment could just be something to get your attention, maybe a job loss. But He could also lay waste to your life in other ways:
- Inability to be successful and profitable in your endeavors
- Inability to be used of Him
- “I’m not afraid of failure. I’m afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.” – William Carey
No Alternative But Thankfulness
One wise preacher said, “If today you woke up with only what you thanked God for yesterday, what would you still have?” In Isaiah 5, we never see a resolution. We never see God’s people turning their lives around and repenting of the misuse of God’s blessings.
In fact in verse 25, we see that God’s hand of judgment is not stayed, or stopped. So how are we to avoid the same demise? Thankfulness.
Are we truly thankful for God’s blessings? If so, then we ought to be using them for His honor and glory rather than selfish gain.
About the Author
Hannah and her husband Cameron are currently on deputation, raising support so they can begin full-time missionary work in Mongolia. She juggles the demands of traveling with those of a toddler and keeps a sweet spirit through it all. Hannah has authored two books in addition to her writing for the Submissive Spirit. She also blesses us with her beautiful voice.