And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. (Luke 5:37 NASB)
The crushing - part 2
As we have discussed before, the grapes must be crushed in order to release the juice and separate the pulp. The word "crush" indicates considerable force, and is often thought of as pulverizing something to a powder. That kind of crushing would be catastrophic to the wine. The crushing required by grapes is firm, steady pressure until the tough outer skin opens and the sweet pulp and juice are released. There is quite a difference between pulverizing and crushing grapes. Crushing brings a sweet release. Pulverizing does more than open the hard skin. It releases bitter oils in the skin and seeds. Pulverizing is so destructive to the fruit that it causes a bitter flavor to the wine that fermentation cannot overcome.
Gentleness in the crushing is required to produce the best possible wine from the grapes. Isn't that an amazing concept? How grateful we should be that our Lord does not pulverize us as He works in us for transformation. Instead, His gentle, constant pressure insistently presses until our tough protective skin is torn, the sources of bitterness are removed, and only the sweet part remains. What is left is the very part that can be used to make the best of wine.
When those we love are in the far country of destruction, it is common for us to desire one of two things for them. Either we want them to be spared all consequences or we, in our anger, want them crushed (aka pulverized), thinking that will "get it out of them". Neither of those options will bring sweet transformation. Those who are prodigals need the same intervention we all have needed - enough crushing pressure to release the sources of bitterness, tear away our self-sufficiency, and leave us malleable and liquid in the Vintner's gentle hands.
Pray today that our loved ones will experience the firm, steady, but gentle pressure of The Lord in such a way that bitterness is removed and complete transformation results.