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The Narrative Lectionary takes us to the prophet Isaiah this week. Isaiah uses the metaphor of a vineyard to describe the Kingdom of Judah and explain why it will be destroyed by the Babylonians. The bad news comes in Isaiah 5:1-17. The Good News comes in Isaiah 11:1-5.

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The beloved has planted a vineyard. He has protected it with a hedge and a watchtower. He has cultivated it as the finest vine. 

The expectation is that it will produce fine wine.

Instead, it produces wild grapes that are bitter.

What is left to do but to tear down the walls and let nature run its course.

Isaiah 5 does not specifically say that the vine will be cut down, but Isaiah does eventually say this. That is an important set up for Isaiah 11.

This is a play on words in the Hebrew. Notice that only one letter changes in these Hebrew words. God expects mishpat but instead finds mispah.

This is another play on words in the Hebrew. Notice that only one letter changes in these Hebrew words. God expects tsedakah but instead finds tsachah.

It is interesting to note that the description of the shoot of Jesse, the coming Messiah, is the prayer we prayer over the newly baptized.

The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,

the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the spirit of counsel and might,

the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2)

His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,

or decide by what his ears hear;

but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,

and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;

he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,

and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,

and faithfulness the belt around his loins. (Isaiah 11:3-5)

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