4 What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes it brought forth wild grapes.
It causes our Heavenly Father great pain when He gives His children every opportunity and every encouragement to choose righteousness and happiness, and yet they choose wickedness and misery instead. Our Heavenly Father is not a hands-off parent. He is eager to engage with us and to help us along the way. When we are making choices that will not lead to our individual or collective happiness, He is willing to teach us, to correct us, and to bless us with the power to change. He mourns when we mourn, even when our unwise decisions have led to the mourning. But He also will not force us to do what is right. The blessings He wants to give us cannot be forced upon us.
Later in this chapter, Isaiah tells us that God “looked for judgement, and behold oppression; for righteousness, and behold, a cry.” There’s a play on words in the original Hebrew that doesn’t come across in the King James translation. Here’s a less literal and more poetic rendering that hopefully conveys Isaiah’s poignant irony more vividly: “He looked for vigilance, and found vengeance; for mercy, but found only misery.”
Today I will remember how much God loves His children, and I will try to emulate His love. I will recognize that to love as God loves is to feel pain when others suffer, even when–perhaps especially when–their suffering is caused by their own bad choices. I will recognize that to “mourn with those that mourn” is an attribute of godliness.