If that question doesn’t make sense, go back one post and read “On the Other Hand, God Really is Angry“. When termites threatened to destroy my house, I exterminated them. In Isaiah 5, God explains that He is going to eradicate the “termites” that threaten to destroy His garden. He doesn’t use termites as a metaphor but, rather, a vineyard that does not produce good fruit because of people wrecking the place. What kind of behavior does wreck the vineyard, so to speak? What kind of termites does God see? Before we answer that, have a look at verse 7, to see what “good fruit” looks like to the eyes of God:
And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
for righteousness, but heard cries of distress. (Isaiah 5:7)
What does God desire for this world? Justice and righteousness. Not what we think of as justice, but perfect justice. A world where a person’s position and wealth does not change what rules apply to him or her. A world where corruption of any kind is non-existent. A world full of people who intuitively do the right thing in a harmonious way. (For more on righteousness, see “Jamming in God’s Band.”) God desires a world in which there is no bloodshed – none.
But if that was all He said, it would resemble a vacuous speech at a beauty pageant (“I want world peace!”). Specifically, what kind of human behavior does God see as termites? He gave Isaiah several specific examples, beginning in verse 8. These are representative examples of things people were doing in that time that wrecked God’s vineyard. Many of these sound pretty contemporary. Let’s just consider the first one:
Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land. (Isaiah 5:8)
When God sees wealthy people gobbling up vast tracts of land for themselves, building themselves house after house, not because they need a place to live but just because they have the money to do it, God sees termites. Think about it: God designed the Earth as a perfect garden and invited humans to live in it and enjoy it. Whose garden is it? How is it that some of the guests in God’s garden think they should fence off hundreds of thousands of acres, saying to everybody else, “Keep out! This is mine?” It is not that God is opposed to holding property in a family in trust and passing it along. What God sees as termites is the people who greedily attempt to own and control much more than they could ever need and who wind up isolating themselves from everyone else in the process.
I could be wrong about this, but I believe God sees termites when He looks down on how much of this country is “owned” by so few – not because they need to but simply because they can. I think God sees termites in places where huge conglomerates make it impossible to make a go of a family farm. It’s not just agriculture; I see similar things going on with the decline of “Mom and Pop” stores and restaurants, too. I’ll bet that there are aspects of the forces behind enormous conglomerate corporations that God sees as termites. Just sayin’
Of course the argument for those who do such things is that they do it to be successful. Listen to what God says will be the outcome:
The Lord Almighty has declared in my hearing: “Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants. A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine, a homer of seed only an ephah of grain.” (Isaiah 5:9-10) (Note: the words, bath, homer, and ephah, all refer to an extremely paltrey amount for such big places.)
God says, “What you think is success will lead to utter ruin. Mark My words!” Why? Termites! Living like that wrecks the place. That’s not the way God designed for the world to work.
That’s just the first example. Next time we will go further