“For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry! Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you, and you are left to live alone in the midst of the land!” (Is 5: 7-9)
This passage from the great prophet Isaiah is being read today in my church, because we read from Isaiah during the weekdays of Lent. For those of us who are new to reading the Bible, it may seem that passages like this one have little to do with our lives today. But they are read precisely because they have everything to do with our lives today.
What we call Scripture is recorded and received and passed down because of its unchangeing relevance to every human being; Scripture reveals to me truths about my own “story” and journey, because Salvation History plays out in every one of our lives. Scripture also speaks to us communally, as the believers of today, addressing us as “the house of Israel.” Because Christ opened the doors of God’s house to all, when He came to us all, as a light to the revelation of the Gentiles. We all became “His pleasant planting.”
The small lesson I carry with me today, from the reading above, is God’s reminder to me not to get caught up in my work, in my professional life, in ways that will lead to me being “left to live alone.” He says, “Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field,” talking to those of us workaholics who tend to ignore family and friends amidst our work, “…until there is room for no one but you, and you are left to live alone in the midst of the land!” Let me hear that loving word today, reminding me that God doesn’t want be to be left “alone,” isolated from Him and others. So let me make time and room today for God and my closest ones, so I can continue to grow as “His pleasant planting.”