Twilight: Much Pain, No Gain
by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Isaiah's God is the Holy One of Israel. In God's presence we have to be morally clean. God has chosen his Servant, who will rule in righteousness in a kingdom of peace.
"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?" (lsa. 5:4).
Now the prophet sings a song as if he were God's minstrel, a singer for God and an entertainer of God's people Israel.
"I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard:"
The beloved is God. And the vineyard is Israel.
God worked in this vineyard as hard as anyone who takes an investment seriously. But in spite of all the hard work and costly cultivation, the "vineyard yielded only bad fruit."
"Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard." The poet-singer revealed that the owner planned to destroy the vineyard. The audience nodded in appreciation. Quite right, they thought. If a person puts in so much pain and gets no gain, he might as well discontinue the fruitless enterprise.
The shock came at the end: "The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel." By agreeing with the owner's decision, the audience had, in effect, agreed that the LORD should abandon his people.
Jesus told part two of Isaiah's song of the vineyard. "I am the true vine, my Father is the gardener," and "you are the branches" (John 15:1--8). Jesus is the true Israel, the real vine. Anyone who belongs to God's people or God's vineyard today must be grafted into the true vine. "In Christ" we can bear fruit.
But if our lives are still fruitless and yield no gain after all God's pain, the branch is broken off and thrown into the fire.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version
Be sure to read the "Preface" and the "Acknowledgments" by the author.