Why God takes us through the wilderness – Understanding the new wineskin parable

Luke 5:39; Matthew 9:14-17

Some reasons God takes us through the wilderness and what did Jesus mean from the new wineskin parable? 🤔

Excerpts from “God where are you?!” by John Bevere

“In the Bible, wine is a symbol of God’s presence. Paul says in Ephesians 5: 18, “And do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (NKJV). We are to be filled with wine, God’s presence! New wine is a fresh move of His Spirit. 

Let me briefly bring up this important question again. Do you remember how wonderful it was when you were first filled with the Spirit? God’s presence was sweet and strong. Every time you would pray, His presence immediately would manifest itself, and you would sense His nearness all day long. At times in church you would just sit and cry because He was so close. Then one day much later, you noticed that you didn’t sense His presence quite so easily. You were still praying like you used to, but now you began to wonder, God, where are You?! You’d arrived at a wilderness! 

There is a reason for that wilderness or fast of God’s presence. God is preparing you to be a new wineskin. You can’t put new wine, which is a fresh move of God’s spirit, into old wineskins. 

The wineskins used in Jesus’ day were containers made of sheepskin. When the wine was first put in, the skins were flexible and pliable. They stretched easily and would yield without resistance as the wine expanded. However, as the years went by, the Middle Eastern atmosphere would dry out the wineskin, leaving it brittle and hard. Now if the wine was poured out and new wine poured in, the skin could handle neither the weight of the new wine nor any fermentation because it was rigid and brittle and would crack or tear easily. To correct this problem, the old wineskins would be soaked in water for several days and then rubbed with olive oil. That restored the wineskin’s flexibility and pliableness. 

This is symbolic of what happens to us, for we are the wineskin of the spiritual new wine. We are called to be carriers of God’s presence. The atmosphere we reside in can draw out our tenderness to God’s ways. We are not in heaven; we live in a corruptible environment called the world. Our minds therefore need to be renewed. To keep our wineskin pliable—ready always for the fresh wine—we must be soaked in the Word of God. Paul writes in Ephesians 5: 26, “That He (Jesus) might sanctify and cleanse her (the church) with the washing of water by the Word” (NKJV). The rubbing of the wineskin with olive oil for us is like spending time seeking God in prayer. As we spend time with God, both in His Word and in prayer, our minds become renewed and we are no longer rigid in our ways and methods. 

But in order to rejuvenate the old wineskin, you first have to pour out the old wine! That means no wine in the vessel—no tangible presence of God! 💡That means a fast of the tangible presence of God, or as we have been saying continually, that means a dry time! In such a season you are preparing for change! 

Why does God remove His tangible presence? To get you frustrated? 😡 No, even though that will occur! Is it because He wants to put you on the shelf until He has need of you? 😐 No! The reason He withdraws His presence is to cause you to seek and search for Him even more diligently. Seeking makes you flexible and pliable again. 

People who become rigid and inflexible are people who have stopped seeking God. They become set in their methods. They are set in the formulas that they themselves have devised from previous genuine experiences. 💡

That was the condition of these men following John the Baptist. They attached to him because they could see the Lord was working mightily through him. However, instead of continuing to press on to the heavenly prize of knowing God intimately, they became rigid in their beliefs and methods.” 😨🙌🏾🙏🏾

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