Vineyards and sour grapes

Published 5:44 pm Tuesday, August 6, 2019

My dad had a vineyard, a very small vineyard. It was only two short rows of scuppernong vines, each one about six plus feet long. But every year, they were loaded with grapes.

Interestingly, scuppernongs or muscadine grapes (Muscadinia rotundifolia) are native to the southeastern United States. They were a staple food for the Native Americans who populated this area and who called them “the big white grapes,” ate them fresh and dried them for the winter.

The name comes from Scuppernong, North Carolina, where they grow wild and the scuppernong is the state fruit of North Carolina. The “Mother Vine,” a 400-year-old scuppernong, is located on Roanoke Island, North Carolina and is believed to be the oldest cultivated grapevine in the world.

The vines are generally hardy, require minimal care and maintenance, and can be eaten straight off the vine or used to make delicious jelly, jams, juices and wine.

“Listen while I sing you this song, a song of my friend and his vineyard: My friend had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug the soil and cleared it of stones; he planted the finest vines. He built a tower to guard them, dug a pit for treading the grapes. He waited for the grapes to ripen, but every grape was sour.” (Isaiah 5)

My dad would have been disappointed had his vines not been loaded with good grapes, as was the owner of this vineyard in the time of Isaiah. The soil was good, the vines were the best available, everything that could be done was done, yet the grapes were sour.

Sometimes life is like that; you’ve done everything right, but the result is wrong. You worked hard, but someone else got the promotion. You did your best, but you didn’t win the prize. You prepared for every possibility, but something happened you couldn’t anticipate. So, you were disappointed. You felt what God must feel when his people let him down.

“Israel is the vineyard of the Lord Almighty; the people of Judah are the vines he planted. He expected them to do what was good, but instead they committed murder. He expected them to do what was right, but their victims cried out for justice.” (Isaiah 5)

God wants his people to love him and love other people, but sometimes we don’t. God wants his people to be honest, but sometimes we are not. God wants his people to care, but sometimes we don’t. Considering what happened in El Paso and Dayton, today is a great time for all of us to renew our commitment to live Godly lives.