In that day

One of my favourite themes in the Bible is that of God as gardener which is also found in today’s reading for Isaiah 27 and 28.

Once evil, represented by the Leviathan has been vanquished (27:1), and the judgement on the vineyard that failed to yield a crop (announced in chapter 5) handed down, a new vineyard will grow to take its place (v2-5). It is something to rejoice over because the Lord himself tends it and keeps it well watered.

Even if weeds and thorns should grow there – they will soon be removed and thrown into the fire.

The days are coming when Jacob
    shall put down roots,
Israel blossom and grow fresh branches,
    and fill the world with its fruit.

God has a plan that embraces all nations and Israel is central to it, but only after it has been cleansed (v7-11). When the judgement is over, the precious grains will be gathered up one by one – these grains will not be destroyed with the chaff. The great trumpet will announce the calling home of the exiles from captivity to come and worship God on the holy mountain, Jerusalem (also see Isaiah 66:22-23 and Revelation).

Chapter 28 pours scorn on leaders  – in the northern kingdom (28:1-13) and their southern counterparts (14-22) – who because of their arrogance and self-indulgence fail to heed the warnings given by the prophets. It is the simple farmer who is far wiser than the nation’s rulers because God instructs him and teaches him the right way (23-29).

26They know exactly what to do and when to do it.
    Their God is their teacher. 27-29 And at the harvest, the delicate herbs and spices,
    the dill and cumin, are treated delicately.
On the other hand, wheat is threshed and milled, but still not endlessly.
    The farmer knows how to treat each kind of grain.
He’s learned it all from God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
    who knows everything about when and how and where.

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