In Praise of the God Who Has Done It All

I marvel at the way my daughters-in-love give to their families, particularly to my grandchildren. Both young women have the privilege of staying home with their littles, so they are up to their fetlocks every single day in feeding and clothing and cleaning up after the most adorable children on the planet (ahem).

Naturally, being children, they don’t give their amazing mothers a second thought. All their lives, they have accepted breast milk and clean diapers, attention at all hours of the day and night, homemade baby food, and amazing themed birthday parties with piles of presents. I’m grateful that they have, so far, been an appreciative bunch, but if one of them should have the audacity to complain about their living conditions, the response would be obvious:

“What more could your mothers do for you?”

The prophet Isaiah echoes a parallel sentiment as we come to the end of our first two days, reading Isaiah 1-5. The story of God’s disappointing vineyard casts God in the role of a conscientious keeper, having made every provision for the productivity of his grapevines, only to be rewarded with sour fruit, good for nothing (5:2).

“And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.

What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it?

When I looked for it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?”

Isaiah 5:3-4

What more could he have done for his chosen people? Rescued from Egypt, blanketed in protection, fenced in by loving laws, and then forgiven when they failed, how could there still be no fruit of righteousness–or at least of repentance?

As we continue our reading through Isaiah, we’ll see that God intends to make good on his promise to “take away the hedge” (5:5) of protection surrounding his people, and Isaiah has the unpleasant task of describing the upheaval in Israel’s future. The six woes that follow in verses 8-23 are just a foretaste, but readers in 2020 are blessed to have the entire Bible in which the solid realities that correspond to Old Testament shadows are revealed.

Jesus, the True Vine

Jesus describes himself as the True Vine in John 15, bringing the vineyard imagery from the Old Testament vividly into the New. Steeped in Torah, Jesus’s hearers would have put their finger on the message carried in Jesus’s metaphor: He was saying that he was the Messiah, God’s Chosen One, and the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies and covenants.

This True Vine, in sharp contrast with Old Testament Israel, bore the good fruit of redemption, but a vineyard is no safe place for the good fruit of the vine. Certainly, they are cultured, cared for, and nurtured at the outset, but a grape’s purpose is clear:
Grapes are grown to be crushed.

Whenever you observe communion with fellow believers, you are celebrating the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah’s vineyard metaphor in Christ’s spilled blood.
“What more could he have done…?”
Our Advent journey through Isaiah will land us at the foot of the cross, dispelling any notion of a glittery, sanitized celebration of Christmas. Christ’s Incarnation happened in response to deep need and widespread desperation.

All thanks and praise to God who has done it all!

Our Advent journey through Isaiah will land us at the foot of the cross, dispelling any notion of a glittery, sanitized celebration of Christmas. Christ’s Incarnation happened in response to deep need and widespread desperation.

It’s not too late to join us in our journey through Isaiah.
Download the reading schedule here, and be saturated in truth from Isaiah’s pen during this Advent season!

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34 thoughts on “In Praise of the God Who Has Done It All”

  1. “What more could he have done…?” Thank you for this reminder of the extent and depth of Christ’s love for us. You’re so right; we often sanitize our celebrations of His work, which can make it easy to forget the depths of His true love for us.

    Very well said!

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  2. Michele, I am in the process of reading the Old Testament. I just finished Isaiah and am beginning Jeremiah now. I love reading your thoughts on the book I have so recently finished. When I read alone, I tend to miss important and subtle messages. Indeed, what more could He have done?

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  3. Almost forgot you were doing this today, Wednesday, but yay, I made it. I’m with Laurie as when I read, I sometimes don’t really get what the passages are saying so I go to sources, but glad I read yours today as you make it make sense. Thanks for sharing this Advent reading.

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  4. ‘…but a grape’s purpose is clear: Grapes are grown to be crushed’ – I’d never thought of it like that before. I’m grateful all over again for ‘…the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah’s vineyard metaphor in Christ’s spilled blood’.

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    1. I am stopped in my tracks over and over again when I read God’s intent to crush his son. It’s a great privilege to take this time for sharing what’s there in the sacred text.

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  5. Thank you for bringing the circle round- old and New Testament reflect and complement each other! Great reading plan!

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  6. I am partial to John 15:1-17 with its encouragement and challenge. I never made the connection between vs. 1-8, where Jesus expounds on the relationship between Vine and branches, and Isaiah 5. You’ve piqued my curiosity–I’ll have to explore that further! AMEN to your closing benediction, Michele: All thanks and praise to God who has done it all!

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  7. Isaiah is one of my favorite books of the Bible, Michele, so I’m looking forward to reading more of your thoughts in coming posts. This one bring to mind words from the old hymn … “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

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  8. Thanks so much for linking up with me at the #FaithAndWorshipChristianWeekend 12, open until December 7 at 12:05 am. Shared on social media.

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  9. Thanks for reminding us that we all need to stay very appreciative for the multitude of things that God has done for us. The blessings are too many to count. May I keep my eyes on him and his provisions instead of any perceived lack that I can imagine.

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  10. Michele, I was moved so much by the comparison of Jesus being born to be crushed. I takes my breath away to think of his sacrifice and being fully God, but fully human how he must have felt knowing his whole life he would be crushed for sinful people. Thanks for reminding us why we should be so thankful. Thank you for sharing this post with the #FaithAndWorshipChristianWeekend 12

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  11. I love how the Bible fits together—the New fulfilling the Old. Sometimes I get a little complacent as I read the Old Testament—‘I would NEVER do that!’ I think. And then the Holy Spirit convicts me that I do indeed do *that*—just a modern-day equivalent.

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  12. It is important to be extra thankful this year due to the hardships we are facing. Gratitude for some families will be tough to find due to financial hardships or the loss of a loved one but I hope everyone will find a glimmer of light. Thanks for linking up with #dreamteamlinky

    Liked by 1 person

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