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April 27, 2020

 

The Rock Yard and The Winepress

My Dear Friend,

     Every born-again Christian is given the Spirit-induced desire to glorify God and bear fruit for His kingdom. But sometimes God uses extreme means to give us our heart's desire.

     In Psalm 12, God promises to deliver His godly ones from "oppression" (v. 5) caused by the lies and injustices of the wicked, who are hypocrites, flatterers, and arrogantly confident they can do and speak as they please with the godly. These oppressive conditions, when permitted to continue for a season, are crushing the godly: "The weak are being crushed, the needy sigh..." (v. 5, Moffatt). But why? Doesn't God love godly believers? Why would He let them be crushed?

     His ways are not our ways! "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 55:8-9). Our loving God uses strange scenarios - injustice, pain, delayed hopes, and other unexplained adversities - for His higher purposes, namely, to make us humbler and more fruitful. The ungodly imagine they are having their way with the righteous, but God is really having His, using their unholy services to achieve His holy ends, in His rock yard and winepress.

     Are you there today? If so, God is performing a two-part work. He is using temporary injustices caused by ungodly people, or other painful adversities, to pulverize your pride, so you will be broken, contrite, no longer willful or selfish, but thoroughly broken and surrendered to His will and thus easy for Him to work with. Every blow of His circumstantial sledge hammer or rock crusher, if we stay close to God and faithful, reduces our excessive self-esteem into smaller rocks, then gravel, and finally insignificant dust unable to control or move us.

     Simultaneously, He is using the same pressures to crush the "grape" of the Christ-life in you so the sweet, sustaining wine of life - the Holy Spirit - may flow out to lift, bless, and inspire His thirsty, needy, fainting people. Every time slander, unfairness, or other unwanted and unwarranted sufferings "step" on you, but you continue seeking and worshiping Christ, new channels are opened for the Spirit's wine to flow out.

     Are you suffering in the rock yard or winepress today? Can you see only the situational "rocks" or human "feet" God is using to steadily pound or press you, seemingly without mercy? (Remember, in ancient Israel people, not angels, trampled the grapes in the winepress.) Think again, think up, think Scripturally, think Psalm 12! Father will indeed release you, "Now will I rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do" (v. 5, NLT). But His higher purposes are being served at present.

     His rock yard and winepress are doing a work in you so He can do a greater, more lasting work through you. So don't rebel or quit. Don't doubt His love or call. Let the divine process run its course and fulfill God's plan.

     Remember, every Christian who has ever significantly blessed the church has spent his or her season in God's rock yard and winepress. And Jesus' bloody footsteps led them there.

     For three years Jesus' human nature (He had no pride) was "pulverized" and His divine nature "pressed" by the relentless pressures of pressing crowds, endless meetings, hateful enemies watching Him daily, and the growing denunciations of Israel's most powerful and respected religious leaders. Day by day, it was one blow after another, one crushing pressure after another.

     Then, from Gethsemane to Golgotha, the crushing and breaking reached its climax in Jesus' apparent demise. Finally, the breaking and crushing broke and crushed Him. But on the third day He rose, utterly humbled as a man (Philippians 2:5-8) and, fifty days later, released the new wine of the Spirit and His gifts and blessings we are still drinking today.

     His plan is to work a similar wonder through you and me, if we will only stay faithful in our rock yard and winepress. If so, He will rescue us, as Psalm 12 promises. Then we will emerge from our rock yard freed from pride and established in humility. And we will step out of our winepress with the new wine of the Spirit flowing steadily through us to bless His people with life-giving, soul-sustaining ministry. This is the gospel of the rock yard and winepress.

     Believe it! And offer praise and worship to the Lord of your rock yard and winepress, "the sacrifice of praise … the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15)!

Worshiping in the rock yard and winepress,

Greg Hinnant
Greg Hinnant Ministries

       Greg Hinnant Ministries
PO Box 788, High Point, NC 27261
1-336-882-1645