Wednesday, July 20, 2016

he drank your wine

The Word for today:
Nehemiah 1
I love the book of Nehemiah. I'll never forget the first time I encountered the last line of chapter 1:
"Now I was cupbearer to the king."
Intriguing. But what did it mean? So I looked it up. The cupbearer tasted the wine first, to make sure it wasn't poisoned. He was the king's most trusted attendant, constantly in his presence.
Then I read how the king sent his cupbearer to a city, far away. His mission was to rebuild what had been broken.
Certainly the book of Nehemiah is about Nehemiah, who worked with Ezra the priest and the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to rebuild Jerusalem. But the gathering sense that Nehemiah stands as a preview of Jesus becomes irresistible, even undeniable when we reach, in the New Testament, the night that Jesus was arrested:
So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?" (John 18:11)
The cup he drank that night, from his Father's hand, was a well-known Old Testament picture of judgment:
For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs. (Psalms 75:8)
He was sent to a distant land. There he worked as a carpenter, building with wood and stone. Finally, because he knew what was in the cup, he drank your wine.
You'll forgive me if I sometimes forget that Nehemiah is about Nehemiah.

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