Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Have you ever had raisin juice? Me either. Raisin juice may be an oxymoron. Can juice be squeezed from something that is dried?
Isaiah 65:8-9 This is what the LORD says: “As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes and men say, ‘Don’t destroy it, there is yet some good in it,’ so will I do in behalf of my servants; I will not destroy them all. I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah those who will possess my mountains; my chosen people will inherit them, and there will my servants live.
The nation of Israel had dried up spiritually. Not only were they no longer ripe for a harvest of righteousness, but they were also juice-less – the Living Water of God was no longer in them.
But not all of them were spiritually shriveled. There was a remnant of people who had remained juicy with the joy of the Lord. They were justified by their faith in Jesus, the coming Messiah. They were plump with promise. They were fat with faithfulness. They were sweet with servant hearts.
The LORD spoke to Isaiah and said, “At first glance it looks like the grapes are becoming raisins, which are useless to me. But if you squeeze them you will discover there is still juice in them. That juice is good, so I will not destroy those grapes, but will instead use them for their intended purpose of possessing a new Kingdom.”
There are at least two lessons here for us:
- We are surrounded by people who are shriveling up spiritually. Maybe you are one of them. By your own evaluation or the scrutiny of others, you have determined that there is nothing good left in you. Many people around you have the same belief about themselves. But there’s Good News! God sees good juice in you yet. You are not a raisin. You are a grape plump with promise. God is calling you to an inheritance on His holy mountain. You! Wrinkles and all. You are still valuable to the Savior.
- We must be squeezed a little for the good to come out. This may hurt a little, but the squeezing of grapes produces wine. Wine is very symbolic in the Bible. Wine is the symbol of redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ squeezed out on Calvary for the forgiveness of sins. Wine is the symbol of judgment, as God squeezes sinners in the winepress of His wrath in mankind’s last days on earth. Wine is the symbol of rejoicing, when Jesus again drinks it with all His faithful followers when the new Kingdom is established. Wine is the symbol of the adultery of mankind in false religions and self-serving spiritualism. So here is the point: when you feel squeezed by the circumstances and hardships of life, what is coming out of you? Is it good, God-honoring juice that will become new wine for the celebration of the King, or is it raisin juice that needs to be destroyed?
Your response to the squeeze is your responsibility. Your response reveals your real character. When God’s people are squeezed, good juice of righteousness comes out.