Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?” vs. 12Psalm 80:8-15
Like Isaiah the psalmist uses the metaphor of the vineyard to describe Israel. But the questions asked are different. Isaiah asks “Why did the beautiful vineyard yield wild grapes?” but the psalmist asks “Why did God break down the vineyard’s walls?” Isaiah the prophet implies that Israel had disappointed the Lord, but the psalmist seems to have no clue why the country is being plundered by its enemies. These different perspectives reflect two general attitudes that can be seen among us when ugly stuff starts happening. Some have no difficulty in assigning blame–it’s our own fault. We’re the ones who have screwed up and we deserve the consequences of our sinful actions. But others seem to have no idea why all the bad things are happening to them. They’ve done their best to lead good lives, and in spite of that, they’re being punished–and like the psalmist all they can do is cry out to God for help. Such are the mysteries of life in this world. At various points we’ll agree with the prophet, “Yup, we really have gotten off track. We should have known this would happen.” But sometimes we really do wonder. There just isn’t any good reason for the calamities we’re enduring–and we resonate with the psalmist’s “why.” No matter what camp they are in, people of faith will find their only consolation in the Divine Presence!
Thought for the Day: Who speaks for me, Isaiah or the psalmist?