Crushed Grapes

Matthew 26:28 “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

It is believed that the earliest wine press used human hands and feet as the method for crushing grapes. Large areas of sandstone and brick would provide the platform for the crushing, a large basin nearby would be the holding tank for the wine. Sometimes ropes were hung overhead to grasp onto and provide stability while the crushing took place.

It is always interesting for me to see how the Lord gave parallels in scripture to things people found familiar and then relate them with spiritual truth.

As a kid growing up in church, I always thought of God’s wrath as a final blow regarding judgement. If someone was under wrath, it seemed like God was about to wipe them off the face of the earth. I used to live fearfully in regards to this wrath, afraid that if I made the wrong move or didn’t live perfectly I would incur this strict judgement in my own life. Wrath was perceived as a death sentence and God was swinging His sickle frequently on all who rebelled against Him.

As I’ve grown in the Lord, my understanding has grown as well. I have had to cast off some of the teaching I received in my youth, it simply didn’t line up with scripture. I don’t know if the teaching was a product of my denomination or a product of the times, many who grew up under similar circumstances but in different denominations have reported experiences like mine.

Our Perception

The way we perceive God is dependent on many factors. If we have a mentor or adult that claims to be a believer, we often gain an image of God through them. If we are taught about God from a pastor or teacher we are limited by the way they portray God in how they teach.

A false perception can lead to a false understanding of how to walk with Christ and live for Him. If I see God in a way that is corrupt, then I will have a corrupted understanding of how to live.

Scripture is not up for deliberation. It is not meant to be interpreted one way for someone and another way for someone else. Scripture was given with a specific intent, message, and model for application, it was never meant to be applied subjectively.

2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

God inspires—It’s up to us to listen.

God’s Wine Press

Isaiah 63:2-6 “Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?

“I have trodden the winepress alone,
And from the peoples no one was with Me.
For I have trodden them in My anger,
And trampled them in My fury;
Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments,
And I have stained all My robes.
For the day of vengeance is in My heart,
And the year of My redeemed has come.
I looked, but there was no one to help,
And I wondered
That there was no one to uphold;
Therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me;
And My own fury, it sustained Me.
I have trodden down the peoples in My anger,
Made them drunk in My fury,
And brought down their strength to the earth.”

The message of Isaiah was a foretelling of things to come. Initially he didn’t know who it was he was testifying of, so the Lord revealed who it was that came:

vs. 1 “Who is this who comes from Edom,
With dyed garments from Bozrah,
This One who is glorious in His apparel,
Traveling in the greatness of His strength?—

The Lord responded:

“I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

This wasn’t the only time we hear of the Messiah depicted such as this:

Revelation 19:13-14 “He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.”

The winepress of God’s wrath is meant to produce something good. If the grapes are fruitful, they will spill forth the wine and it will be collected by the owner of the vineyard. The good wine is the product of the vinedressers work and it is likewise shared with all those who He calls friends.

The crushing is not meant to destroy, but to bless. We live in a world today that is being crushed, the winepress of God’s wrath is upon it and what comes forth is meant to produce goodness. Whatever means God uses to press people is irrespective of the intent.

Covid-19 has been pressing the entire population of the planet, I have talked with people from multiple continents and everyone has experienced the effects of this pandemic. Regardless of how this started, it is the effects are what matters. God can take anything meant for evil and turn it for good. It is way too easy to focus on the conspiracies, grow angry about the restrictions, be fearful of things to come, or resist in ways that this has changed our societies and become disgruntled, but when our eyes are on the Lord what we see is a hopeful conclusion to all His work.

The Edomites in Isaiah’s day were a people group that inhabited the land south of the Dead Sea and north of the Red Sea. Known for being the enemy of Israel, this idolatrous nation had as its founder Esau, the term Edom itself meaning ‘red’ in Hebrew, the color of Esau when he was born. The Lord came forth from Edom with robes of red, representative of a crushing of the world. Edom is representative of a world that has gone astray, choosing their own way, they worship everything but the Creator who loves them and calls them to His own. God hates sin and everything a sinner represents, they stand in defiance against Him…and yet He still loves them enough to see if there are any that will come forth from it.

Malachi 1:2-5 “I have loved you,” says the Lord.
“Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’
Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?”
Says the Lord.
“Yet Jacob I have loved;
But Esau I have hated,
And laid waste his mountains and his heritage
For the jackals of the wilderness.”

Even though Edom has said,
“We have been impoverished,
But we will return and build the desolate places,

Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“They may build, but I will throw down;
They shall be called the Territory of Wickedness,
And the people against whom the Lord will have indignation forever.
Your eyes shall see,
And you shall say,
‘The Lord is magnified beyond the border of Israel.’

When we witness the red robe of the Messiah, we witness it being stained by what He does. Whether it is by the crushing of the nations in judgement or being crushed Himself for the sins of the world.

Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.”

Judgement

Vengeance is not payback as a means of destruction, it is a means of crushing with a mind to restore. Regardless of how offensive someone might be, the Lord still loves them to the end.

Hear the song of Moses:

Deuteronomy 32:31-35 “For their rock is not like our Rock,
Even our enemies themselves being judges.
For their vine is of the vine of Sodom
And of the fields of Gomorrah;
Their grapes are grapes of gall,
Their clusters are bitter.
Their wine is the poison of serpents,
And the cruel venom of cobras.

‘Is this not laid up in store with Me,
Sealed up among My treasures?
Vengeance is Mine, and recompense;
Their foot shall slip in due time;
For the day of their calamity is at hand,
And the things to come hasten upon them.’

When the Lord brings wrath, He brings vengeance. Calamity or doom is the final conclusion for those who resist God’s correction until the end. No amount of pressing brings them to repentance, they fight and rebel with hard hearts that lead to their final destruction in Hell.

We are not called to vengeance, this is reserved for the Lord. If we attempt to usurp God’s purposes, we sin and bring judgement upon ourselves. Judgement on earth is for restoration, not destruction. Our tendency is to desire payback from the beginning of the offense. Our lack of love is the indictment against us for seeing others by means of the flesh, rather than through God’s eyes in the Spirit.

Love…Love…Love….is the response of the Savior. It is only the hatred of those against the Savior that seals their fate.

The Produce

To those who are crushed and still rebel, their fruit is only bitterness. For those who are crushed and turn and repent, the fruit becomes good wine that imitates the goodness of the Savior.

Philippians 1:9-11 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

What do you want to see coming forth from your life?

The only way to be made ‘good’ in the sight of God is to be associated with the goodness of the Savior. He will still bring times of crushing in your life, He wants you to trust Him through it. Keep in mind, you are His, He has a good purpose for you through every calamity He takes you through, He produces in you the blessings of the tree of life that can only come from Him.

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