The first 7 verses of this chapter contain a parable of the Lord’s vineyard. There is also another version of the Lord’s vineyard found in Doctrine and Covenants 101:43–58. Both are compelling and notable for their distinct differences. In the account found in Section 101, the servants were slothful in erecting a tower, and were overthrown because of their failure to follow these specific instructions.
In the account in Isaiah however, the vineyard already had a tower, every safety precaution had been taken to protect the vineyard. But instead of producing grapes, it made wild grapes, which were useless and of no value to the master of the vineyard.
The practices of land hording are condemned in verses 8 – 10. This is what I like about Isaiah; he’s not afraid to call out shady business practices, like building houses so close to one another so that there is no room for life in between them. Land enough to live on, and land enough to breathe, this is the right way of the Lord. The greedy business owner, land barons that buy up the farms of the poor, these things out not to be.
Woe is pronounced upon those that follow strong drink and seek out the party lifestyle, without acknowledgement of God. That is to say, a celebration in due season would be in order for notable events. But those that seek this and nothing else, they are without God.
An accusation that is brought against Israel is that they are without knowledge. Knowledge of what? Knowledge of the truth, the things of God. The knowledge that we are sent here to acquire in this life. The consequence of this is captivity. Bondage is what results when we are devoid of the knowledge of God.
In its place is pride and arrogance. The pride cycle is inevitable. Destruction results and the only one left standing is God.
Another day, and a similar sentiment is reinforced in my mind again. The wicked give no consideration for the work of the Lord, or the operation of his hands. (see vs. 12) Can I see the hand of God at play in my life?
It is not articulated in this chapter, but the essence of this chapter seems to echo these scriptures:
And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.D&C 59:21
Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy Son.Alma 33:16
An Ensign to the Nations
This is a key prophecy in the book of Isaiah referring to our times. I still remember the seminary discussions that I had where we discussed Isaiah’s efforts to describe what he witnessed in vision about the latter days.