I love this story in Mark 12 about the vineyard. The place and time were significant here. If you notice, He told this story to the Pharisees and religious leaders in the Temple. He told this story just a couple days before His trial and sentence to death. Many people believe that Jesus told this story to refer back to Isaiah 5:1-7, which would have been common knowledge for the religious leaders, and would have more directly confronted them with their unbelief. It's written like poetry and I have bolded words that occur in both texts.
The Song of the Vineyard
1 I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.
2 He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.
3 "Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
4 What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?
5 Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard:
I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed;
I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.
6 I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated,
and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds not to rain on it."
7 The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight.
And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.
12:9 Beautiful foretelling of Gentiles opportunity for salvation.
Psalm 47, another Messianic, Millennial Kingdom prophecy. Cool, huh?
Questions for reflection:
Todays' reflection ripped out of Psalms! When is the last time you really cut loose alone and worshiped God? When did you last clap your hands, sing out loud, fall on your face? Do we really get it that our God is "the great King of all the earth, the Most High God"?
I hate to admit it, but I phase in and out of a meaningful worship life. Sometimes, I set aside time in the morning to put on my music (ipod) and lay on the floor, focusing on God's presence with me. Sometimes I sit outside under the stars at night (we have an amazing night sky in Wyoming) just to remember how BIG my God is compared to how small my problems and challenges are. Sometimes, I head for the local mountains with a chair and my Bible, and I just sit in silence for a few hours by a rushing river, with the backup worship team of birds, bugs, and river singing the chorus, communing with God through His beauty and majesty. And one of my favorites is setting my ipod on worship music and going for prayer walks, but only in the warmer months!
And then there are those other times, too often, when I forget why I'm here, and I push God to the side because I'm too busy, too distracted, too focused on myself.
Let me remind us all, there's a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge of God. All this stuff we're learning here is great head knowledge, but it will not sustain us or grow us into godliness or love with God. It is only knowledge. The real joy, peace, beauty, and strength come into our lives through communing with God through focused, intent worship of just showing up for God to be with Him and to talk to Him and to listen to Him.