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No Excuses

by | Oct 2, 2023 | Confession

“Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning His vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; He built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and He looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between Me and My vineyard. What more was there to do for My vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? … For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant planting; and He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, an outcry!” (Isaiah 5:1-4, 7 ESV)

The vineyard owner in this story has done everything right, hasn’t he? Good land, good vines, the right equipment, a watchtower—why did things turn out so wrong?

God might well ask us the same question. After all, He also did everything right—a good world, good people, a garden to live in, God’s own protecting presence—why did human beings go so horribly wrong?

And there’s no decent answer to the question, is there? Oh, there is an indecent answer. The indecent answer is “Because I wanted to go wrong. Because I decided to do that evil thing. Because I am a sinner, and this was my choice.” It’s a horrible answer, but it’s true. And it’s a lot better to confess the truth than to waste our time in blaming God for the things He never did—”Oh, You failed to provide me with what I really needed. It’s Your fault, Lord, that I went wrong.”

No. That’s silly, and it’s a lie. We know better. God knows better.

So what should we do? The best thing we can possibly do is to tell the truth. Throw ourselves on God’s mercy. Say, “Lord, we did wrong. We are sorry. Please help us.”

What? Stop hiding behind all our excuses?

Yes. “Return to the Lord Your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and He relents over disaster” (Joel 2:13b ESV). Tell God the truth, and see what wonderful things He will do. Because this is the God who loved us so much, that, even while we were still deep in the darkness, He came into our world to save us. He came as the Man Jesus Christ—and His whole purpose was to lay down His life to buy us free out of our evil. He came to transform our stony hearts and make us free, loving children of God; to turn our sour grapes into the good wine of God. And everyone who trusts in Him will live forever, just as He Himself has broken the power of death and evil, and lives forever, never to die again. Ask Him for mercy; Jesus will surely give it.

We Pray: Lord, have mercy on me through Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on October 3, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights

Reflection Questions:
1. Have you ever tried to blame everybody else for your problems?
2. If so, how did that turn out for you?
3. What happens when we throw ourselves on the mercy of God?


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