Isaiah has been warning Judah and the men of Jerusalem about the judgment that is coming. This is more than just a historical curiosity for us, because judgment has also been prophesied for our time, before the return of Messiah Yeshua.
God is very clear on why judgment is coming:
“For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still.” Isa 5:25
The vineyard of His people did not yield the fruit that He was expecting when He came to collect its fruit (Isa 5:1-7). This is similar to Jesus’ parable of the wicked vinedressers, who, when the master sent servants to collect the fruit of the vineyard, he could not collect it because the vinedressers would not yield it (Mat 21:33-46). Do we yield our Master’s fruit when He sends someone to collect it from us? Do we yield love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self- control when the LORD sends for His fruit (Gal 5:22-23)? Do we yield money for missions, widows, and the poor, when the LORD sends someone to collect it (we are stewards of our property after all, and what we own is not really ours but His). Do we yield our time and our giftings in service when the LORD sends to us to collect His fruit? Not yielding the expected fruit is one of the charges against Judah and Jerusalem that brought judgment upon them.
Increasing wealth and property by oppression, taking away from the widow, poor, and stranger (Isa 5:8-10).
Spending their increased wealth on feasting and indulging their flesh from morning to night, not in honest labor (Isa 5:11-12) . They do not regard the work of the LORD, that in six days He created the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested from all His work; so therefore when we consider the operation of His hands, we likewise labor in honest labor for six days, and on the seventh day we rest.
Notice that these charges are not leveled against the unbelievers and the atheists, but against the people of the LORD who are called by His name!
The captivity of the people of God will come upon them, because they have no knowledge (Isa 5:13). Knowledge of what? They have rejected the Law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel (Isa 5:24). God’s Law is His word. For lack of knowledge, His people perish (Hos 4:6; if we continue reading that verse in Hosea, we see that it is knowledge of the LORD’s Law that they do not have).
It is His Torah that reveals how the LORD desires His people to live; what is righteous and unrighteous behavior. What is just and unjust. That we ought to honor the Sabbath day to keep it holy; that it is wrong to relieve a poor man of his house because he cannot repay you — definitions of right and wrong. When God’s people have no knowledge of His Law, evil might be called good and good evil (Isa 5:20) — it is His Law that teaches fallen fallible man what is truly good and evil.
Therefore because God’s people have rejected His Law and despised His word, they will hear but not understand; they will see but not perceive (Isa 6:9). If they see, they would return to Him and be healed! Repentance for disobedience and sin is ever the way to God’s heart and to access His mercy!
And in the midst of this warning of judgment is the promise of quietness and rest for His lambs who will feed in their pasture, and the strangers who will eat in peace, in the places that used to belong to the rich and the great which have been made desolate by the LORD’s judgment (Isa 5:17). He promises that a remnant of His people, the tenth of them, will remain, who are the holy seed (Isa 6:13).
Can we see the pattern of the word of God? God brings judgment to purge the earth of the wicked and sinner, and the righteous are preserved through it. Noah, Lot, Moses, and the holy seed of Israel remained while the wicked, those who despised the Law of God and the word of the LORD, were purged from their place. We do not need to fear the time that is coming; all we need to fear, is the LORD, to walk in His ways and obey His word, and we will reap rest, quietness, and peace.