A Cottage in a Vineyard

Isaiah 1:8
“And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.”

The prophet Isaiah asked Israel in verse 5, “Why should ye be stricken any more?” Israel’s sins left them desolate. Their sins are what caused their cities to be burned with fire. According to verse 5, their head was sick. In other words, their thoughts were filled with continual evil. The result of the sins of Israel was that they were left in destruction.

However, the verse above shows the mercy of God. Though Israel was destroyed, they were still “left as a cottage in a vineyard.” When I worked in the strawberry fields as a young teenage boy, many of the field workers would make themselves cardboard shacks to live in while they harvested the strawberries. The cottage in the vineyard was the same as those cardboard shacks in which the migrant workers lived. Though the cottage in the vineyard was not much, it was still a place where the remnant of Israel could live. Though the cottage was not like the homes they used to have, they still had a place in their home country. The remnant who lived in those cottages could have been taken captive in another land like most of the Israelites, but for some reason, God’s mercy allowed them to be like a cottage in a vineyard. There are several truths that we should be reminded of from the truth in the verse above.

First, sin always leaves you desolate. Many people who fall into sin want to enjoy the pleasures of sin and the blessings of God at the same time, but that will never happen. You can’t sin and expect life to go on as usual. Sin always leaves you feeling alone and with a fear that everyone will forsake you. If you don’t want to be left desolate, you would be wise to not listen to sin’s deceptive offers that have never produced what they promised.

Second, what you have left after sin is only because of God’s mercy. You may be a cottage in a vineyard, but what did you expect? It is only God’s mercy that has left you a cottage. You must realize that God could have taken everything from you, but His mercy is what leaves you a cottage in a vineyard. It is God’s mercy that leaves you a remnant of a life that you once had. Don’t get upset at God for leaving you as a cottage, but get upset at sin for not giving you what it promised. Always understand that sin would have taken the cottage if it could have, but God’s mercy is what kept the cottage from being taken.

Third, you may not have a mansion, but you can take the cottage and use it for God’s glory. Your life may be a shadow of what it used to be, but you would be wise to take what God’s mercy has left you and use it to its fullest. God can always take a cottage and remodel it into a useful house to be used in a great way again. Just because you are left with a cottage doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do for God. If God has left you with a cottage, take that cottage and use what you have and watch how God turns that cottage into a great tool for His glory.

My friend, if you still have sin in your life, you would be wise to get right before you are only left with a cottage. You are no different from others who sin has ravaged. However, if your life seems to be a cottage, let me encourage you not to complain about the cottage you have left, but if you rejoice in God’s mercy and use your cottage to its best, you will see God turn your cottage into a great tool to help others.

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