I’m going to try to cover some ground here that God has been speaking to me. There are a couple topics I have felt God highlighting recently and I believe they are connected. So, I’m going to try to process through them and find that bridge. Okay, let’s get going...
God is on the move and is orchestrating a work that is completely new; something that has never happened before. I know this deep down in my spirit, you know, that place that knows things before our minds completely understand.
We were meeting for our weekly prayer time with the prayer warriors at The Nest a few weeks ago and I opened my Bible to Isaiah 42.
vs 9: “Indeed, the former things have come to pass, now I declare new things; before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.”
I read this to the group and prayed through it and the few verses before. As I finished, a few of them burst into song. It was an old hymn type song which I had never heard. When they finished they explained that it was written by one of their members years ago and based out of Isaiah 43. However, the theme was exactly the same as what I had read. Here are those verses from chapter 43:
vs 18-21: “Do not remember the former things, or ponder the things of the past. Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. The beasts of the field will honor Me... because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen. The people whom I formed for Myself will make known My praise.”
God is doing a new thing and we are all going to be forced to decide if we want to jump into the rivers He is forming in the desert. The decision is yours and yours alone. Will you join in with what God is doing? There is no middle ground in this next season. God is inviting us to release all things of the past and fully embrace what He is doing. It is an all or nothing decision...
And, that leads us to the other theme God has been showing me: old vs new wineskins.
Wine in the bible often represents the anointing of God. Jesus discussed wine and wineskins quite often in His teachings. In fact, His first public miracle was creating wine from water and His wine tasted far better than the older, aged wine. In that miracle, He was prophetically stating that He was bringing a far better anointing (wine). In Luke 5, Jesus addresses trying to use old wineskins to hold new wine (anointing). He said it doesn’t work. “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will expand and burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.
Let’s connect that concept to the former one of the season we are in: God is doing a new work. He is pouring out a fresh anointing that will grow and expand until the glory of the Lord covers the earth like the water covers the seas. The new wine of the Holy Spirit is coming and we have the opportunity to make our hearts and lives like new wineskins that are capable of holding the anointing. Which means we have the choice to embrace new wineskins or to hold onto the old wineskins in our lives.
I had been reading through Jeremiah and a verse sorta stopped me in my tracks. I read it and didn’t understand it at all, but I knew it was significant. Maybe it will be immediately clear to you, but it forced me to do a quick cross-reference study. Here it is:
Jer 48:11: Moab has been at ease from his youth; he has also been undisturbed, and settled like wine on his dregs, and he has not been emptied from one vessel to another, nor has he gone into exile. Therefore his flavor remains in him, and his scent has not changed.
Not immediately clear. I couldn’t tell if it was good or bad until I read the next verse:
vs 12: “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will send to Moab those who will tip him over and who will empty his vessels and break his [earthenware] jars in pieces.”
Now it was perfectly clear that what was going to happen to Moab was not a good thing for them. The question is, what was Moab guilty of? The cross-reference I found was for Zephaniah 1:12,
“It will come about at that time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps and I will punish the men who [like old wine] are stagnant in spirit, who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil.’”
Old wine! Moab was guilty of holding onto old wine and old wineskins, never willing to pour it out. They refused to embrace new wineskins. God is pounding the point home!
What were the acts that God highlighted about Moab that shows old wineskins? He says that Moab has been at ease, undisturbed and settled. He has not poured himself out. He holds onto his things and they remain with him.
Traditions, systems, structures, buildings, methods, strategies, styles, even the Holy Spirit inspired things of seasons past,.. all can represent old wineskins. God is doing something new and we need to be able to lay aside EVERYTHING to follow Him. He is moving and He is making His name known on the earth. However, it is just going to look different than anything we have yet seen.
We cannot be led by traditions. We cannot be led by systems. We cannot be led by strategies or methods or styles or even something that worked really well in the past. God is inviting us into a deeper relationship with Him where everything we do is completely dependent on Him. Everything. We must let go and step fully into this move of God.
There is great risk to live this abandoned life. But, I believe there is greater risk if we choose to hold onto a piece of the old. At best, we miss the move of God in this moment of history. At worst, the destruction that came to Moab will come to us. There is no middle ground. There is no place for holding onto things of the past for comfort. God desires to be our only comfort, our only option, and our only dependence.
He loves us that much.
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