Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Grain, the Wine, and the Oil

He makes grass grow for the cattle,
   and plants for people to cultivate—
   bringing forth food from the earth:
   wine that gladdens human hearts,
   oil to make their faces shine,
   and bread that sustains their hearts.       Ps. 104:14-15

I have been thinking on three things that are often used in the Old Testament as symbols of God's abundant provision:  the grain, the wine, and the oil.   I guess I'd never thought about it much, but they are listed in the offerings that were to be given in the Temple, and they are listed in prophetic writings as things that God would provide for the people, showing that their needs would be satisfied. 

I can see how they also seem to be symbolic of the New Covenant.  At the Last Supper, Jesus said the bread was His body, broken for us, and that the wine was the cup of the New Covenant, representing His blood shed for us.  Upon Jesus' ascension into heaven, where He sat down because He had finished the work of redemption, the Holy Spirit was poured out from heaven at Pentecost.  1 John speaks of us all having an anointing from the Holy One, here the Holy Spirit's presence in us being compared to anointing with oil.

The grain/bread represents Jesus' body broken for us.

The wine represents His blood shed for us.

The oil represents the Holy Spirit poured out on and into us.

I love how these three things summarize the work of grace that God has done in us!  Christ in His body represented all people.  He was the second Adam.  He died AS US on the cross, bringing down the old creation self, with its sinful nature controlled by the evil one, down into the grave, never to rise again!  Christ shed His blood, dying FOR US, taking away our sins on the cross so that we are completely forgiven and free of those sins, past, present, and future, free of them forever!  Our sins will never be counted against us.  Yet all this, wonderful as it is, was just a prelude, a preparation for the whole goal and purpose of the work of the cross:  that God might live IN US  and THROUGH US by His Spirit!

Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, presenting His perfect sacrifice in the temple not made with hands, in heaven itself.  The work was perfect, it was a perfect sacrifice that took away every sin and destroyed the hold of the sin nature on humanity.  The vessel of human lives could now contain God, the human temple was now be ready to be filled with the glory of God, just as His glory cloud had filled the temple in Solomon's time.   So He poured out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and now we by simple faith can receive this wonderful promised Spirit - the life of God Himself within us to regenerate us, to indwell us, to baptize or fill us with all the fullness of God Himself!  This is how we were meant to live!  To have perfect union of our spirit with God's Spirit.  To have a Friend within us so that we are never alone.  To have Someone to actually live for us and handle everything we face!   To watch as the the One who is Perfect Love loves the world through us.  We walk through this life actually imparting Jesus to people.  And we live in a perfect, unchanging, permanent fellowship with God Himself by His sweet Spirit within us!

The verse says that grain strengthens our heart - Jesus killed off our old self and old heart and gave us a new and strong heart - HIS very own heart and nature within us!  Sin shall never again be our master.  His own righteous nature is ours, a nature that naturally loves and trusts.

The verse also mentions that wine gladdens the heart - His sacrifice has made us totally forgiven, clean, perfect and righteous before Him, we have the wonderful gladness of knowing we are accepted,loved and taken into His arms forever!

The verse mentions the oil that makes our faces shine - He has given us His very own Spirit to live within us, to fill us full, to make us shine with His own glory.  We are in union with God forever.  God's own Spirit lives in us to fight for us, pray for us, love for us, live through us, and be the Friend to us that we have only ever dreamed of!

I love the New Covenant and how complete it is!  We have it all in Him!

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14