This passage declares that God would demonstrate his sovereignty by overthrowing the Chaldean Empire and bringing the Jews back to Palestine. He was the same God who made a path through the Red Sea for the Hebrews of the Exodus, and drowned the Egyptian chariots that pursued after them. But his coming deliverance was to eclipse even that in glory. For he would conduct the liberated Jews through the parched Syrian Desert, and cause it to put forth streams of water to quench their thirst (probably figurative for the sustaining provision he would grant the pioneers through their early years of privation and suffering).
This new beginning was going to be so great that they were to forget all that had happened in the past.
Jesus said a similar thing when in answer to a question John the Baptist’s disciples asked about His disciples not fasting. He answered, in essence by saying you can’t mix a new thing with the old. If you both the new and old will be destroyed.
Matthew 9:14-17 NIV Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
At another time Jesus told His disciples that they are living in a time that the prophets longed to see.
Luke 10:24 (NLT) I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”
New Wine in New Wineskins
We need new wineskins because God has new wine for us. Our mindsets cannot contain what God wants to do in and through us. It means letting go of what’s comfortable, what we can understand and do well, what we want to do – and letting God lead us into a whole new world of experiences. Jesus said “What I am bringing cannot be contained in your thinking right now”.
New Wine, New Wineskins helps African American congregations understand and benefit from the cultural shifts we are now experiencing. Many African American churches once thought they were immune to the cultural shock waves in our streets and neighborhoods. They simple argued that they have always been all about participation and being relational; yet like many churches, their numbers continue to decline. African American churches must find a way to reclaim their missional orientation, while at the same time remaining true to their historical identity and witness of speaking truth to power. The worthy goals of justice and bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ in this time, requires new practices and fresh ideas―new wine. The old framework just won’t work any more. We need new wine skins.