Being Crushed for God’s Purposes

Posted on Jul 18, 2011 in Food and Fitness | 69 comments

In November 2010 I was blessed to experience walking where Jesus walked…to be in Israel, the Holy Land of the Bible and still of this world today. For months I had anticipated this trip with an excitement that was different from what would be normal before going on a tropical dream vacation. I couldn’t, in fact, call going to Israel a “vacation” as I knew deep within my soul it would be so much more. I believed the only way to go to the Bible’s land would be as an empty book, letting Jesus write on my heart and mind whatever He wanted to…for He is the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

As I am very interested in food—especially foods of the Bible—soon into our pilgrimage do I remember hearing about “The Seven Species of the Holy Land” as detailed in Deuteronomy 8:8. These seven foods—”wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey”—were the foods chosen by God to be perfectly fulfilling and satisfying for the Israelites who were about to enter the Promised Land centuries ago. Never in the United States had I heard of “The Seven Species,” but once I did in Israel, I started noticing them pictured on greeting cards, tile mosaics, brochures, etc. So far you may be saying, “Big deal!” But wait—as I kept dwelling on these seven foods, wondering why God would have chosen THEM for His chosen people, He revealed to me something I found utterly inspiring and which has the deepest possible meaning for our redeemed identity in Christ. I felt I’d found one of the hidden treasures Jesus talks about in the New Testament!

I noticed that every one of The Seven Species needs to be “crushed” in some way in order to become the new and finer version of what God created and intended it to be. Each one would not only experience transformation and renewal, but in every case it would be the result of grinding, crushing, dehydrating, stinging, cutting, pressing, or squeezing…in other words, the process would be uncomfortable to say the least. Looking at the foods symbolically, they would need to persevere a painful process in order to become the bread or the wine, the fruit or the juice, the oil or the honey. Oh, how I’d love to go into detail about the symbolism of each “species” right now but, basically, ARE YOU GETTING THIS?! I think God is showing us something profound for our individual spiritual journeys with Him: when our hopes and dreams are crushed, when we are stung by the thoughtless words of another, when we are “squeezed” more tightly than we think we can bear, we must trust that God has a greater purpose, and that a “Promised Land” is ahead. The painful process is most likely a necessary part of the transformation we must faithfully endure in order to become the person God wants us to be…to become more like Christ here on earth…and to live with God in perfect satisfaction and enjoyment for all of eternity.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). Next time you’re feeling crushed, think of a grape…or better yet, think of Christ who was “crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). And keep the faith, knowing that resurrection comes only after crucifixion.

If you can relate to being “crushed before crowned,” I’d love to hear your story.

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