Redeemer Ev. Lutheran Church, Iola, WI

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Tag Archives: wine

Feasting with God #31 – The Mountains Shall Drip Sweet Wine

Feasting with God #31

The Mountains Shall Drip Sweet Wine

Text: Amos 9:13-15

13“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,

“when the plowman shall overtake the reaper

and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed;

the mountains shall drip sweet wine,

and all the hills shall flow with it.

14I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,

and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;

they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,

and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.

15I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted

out of the land that I have given them,”

says the Lord your God. 

The prophet Amos was a violent preacher of the Law, proclaiming the harsh judgments of God against the people of Israel and Judah for their idolatry and injustice.  God says repeatedly throughout this little book: “I will send a fire upon” those who committed transgressions.  With all this fire the mouths of readers quickly become parched.

And then comes this beautiful Gospel promise of restoration.  Although fire may destroy the land and make it inhabitable, indeed killing all the inhabitants, there is a future time when this land will be bountiful to the point that “the plowman shall overtake the reaper”—the harvest will hardly have come in when the plowing and planting is begun again.  After famine and war and thirst and mourning and captivity look at the abundant crop, and at the wealth of wine!

“The mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.”  Just imagine that picture.  All the thirst is quenched, and it won’t be just to give each person just enough, but the mountains shall drip; the hills shall flow; it will be so superabundant that we will just rest and enjoy it.

The prophet Amos was describing the situation for the literal nation of Israel, when they were attacked and taken captive by the Assyrian nation, and then when they were able to return to their homeland.  But he was also describing a future time when destruction and judgment loomed for people, but then the sweet advent of the Savior brought about reprieve.

And we can also apply this to each soul: the threats of fire and destruction loom before us on account of our sins; we are the idolaters, the unjust, the trespassers, and we are already captive in the devil’s chains and bound for the fires of hell; but then the sweet Gospel comes and quenches our spiritual thirst, so that the blessings won by our Savior flow like wine over us, as his blood flowed from his pierced side on the cross.

Our own fortunes are restored, and our dwelling place is rebuilt, so we have mansions we may inhabit forever; as the Garden of Eden was taken away from us in the Fall, it is restored to us in Christ, and we are provided “vineyards” where we may “drink [our] wine,” “gardens” where we may “eat [our] fruit.”  We are planted firmly in the promised land, and we will never be uprooted, because this is given to us by God.

Lord, we praise you for your blessed gifts, which we by no means deserved.  We thank you that you sent your Son to suffer the wrath we earned, and to bleed his precious blood which is given to us as a refreshing wine.  Bring us to our promised blessed home where our vineyards and gardens yield abundant fruit in your presence.  Since you have promised us this, we ask it in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Feasting with God #26 – Filled with New Wine

Feasting with God #26

Filled with New Wine

Acts 2:1-6, 12, 13

1When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.  2And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  3And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.  4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.  5Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.  6And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak his own language….  12And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”  13But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Pentecost, the event which comes 50 days after Easter, is significant for Christians as the occasion when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and gave them the ability to communicate to people of all different languages, in order to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations.  This was to fulfill the promise of Jesus, when he said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).  What a joyful time, when those who had learned the truth from Jesus were made able to share that truth with others!

But many, as we see, thought that the disciples were drunk; that’s why they mocked and said, “They are filled with new wine.”  This accusation was absurd, of course, as Peter pointed out when he began to preach: “For these people are not drunk as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day” (Acts 2:15).  It was too early for them to have been imbibing any wine.  Besides this, drunkenness does not usually yield the result of being able to speak other languages.

Instead, as Peter went on to prove, this was the fulfillment of a prophecy: “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17).  The disciples were not drunk, but empowered by the Holy Spirit, as foretold, in order to bring the Gospel to the people, so that many might be saved.

And yet, we might say that these disciples were indeed “filled with new wine,” in a manner of speaking.  Cyril of Jerusalem, a church father of the early 4th century, illustrated: “In truth the wine was new, even the grace of the New Testament; but this new wine was from a spiritual Vine, which had oftentimes [before] this borne fruit in Prophets, and had budded in the New Testament.”[1]  These disciples were not drunk on some literal alcoholic beverage, but on the pure grace of God as found in the Gospel.  Because of their salvation, and because of the power of the Holy Spirit that dwelt in them on account of their faith, they were raving, but not randomly as with usual drunkenness.  They were raving under the direction of the Holy Spirit, to proclaim the same Gospel that gave them hope and strength.

But this wine of the Gospel was also not entirely new: as Cyril says, it began with the Prophets, with the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—this Gospel wine was even heralded in the ears of our first parents Adam and Eve: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15).  This is the Gospel of the one man, the offspring of our ancient grandmother, who won the victory over all evil, over sin, death, and Satan himself, and was bitten by that same serpent as he died on the cross.  Jesus is the center of this Gospel, who lived the life we couldn’t, died the death we deserved, and rose to the new life he promises us.  And this Jesus was also the center of the message that the disciples proclaimed, drunk on its wine.

Dear Jesus, since you have won all things for us by defeating all our enemies, send upon us your Holy Spirit, to strengthen us in the faith of your Gospel, and to enable us to proclaim the same message to others.  This is your will, and we ask it in your name.  Amen.

Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

[1] Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, ed. A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Series 2.  Vol. 7.  New York: The Christian Literature Series, 1890-99.  Reprint, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1952, 1961, 128