"Moab bath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his
lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither bath he
gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent
is not changed." Jeremiah 48:11
Jeremiah here takes an illustration from the art
of wine-making to teach us that a life of ease does not produce
strength of character.
Whenever wine is being fermented in casks or
vats, lees or dregs settle to the bottom. If the wine is left
undisturbed, it becomes unpalatable. So the vintner must pour out the
wine from vessel to vessel, eliminating the dregs and impurities. When
he does this, the wine develops strength, aroma, color and flavor.
Moab had lived a life of ease. He had never
suffered the disruption of going into captivity. He had insulated
himself from troubles, trials and privations. The result was that his
life was flat and insipid. It lacked fragrance and piquancy.
What is true of wine is true of us also. We need
disruption, opposition, difficulties and disturbances to rid us of
impurities and to develop the graces of a Christ-filled life.
Our natural tendency is to protect ourselves from
anything that would unsettle us. We strive unceasingly to nestle.
But God's will for us is that our lives should be
a perpetual crisis of dependence on Him. He is forever stirring up the
In her biography of Hudson Taylor, Mrs. Howard
Taylor wrote: "This life that was to be made a blessing the wide world
over must pass through a very different process (i.e., different from
being settled on his lees), including much of that emptying and
re-emptying 'from vessel to vessel', so painful to the lower nature,
from which we are being refined."
When we realize what the Divine Vintner is
seeking to accomplish in our lives, it saves us from rebellion and
teaches us submission and dependence. We learn to say:
Leave to His sovereign sway
To choose and to command;
So shalt thou wondering own His way,
How wise, how strong His hand.
Far, far above thy thought
His counsel shall appear,
When fully He the work hath wrought
That caused thy needless fear.