Moab has been at ease from his youth; He has settled on his dregs,
And has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, Nor has he gone into captivity.
Therefore his taste remained in him, And his scent has not changed.
– Jeremiah 48:11 (NKJV)
Have you gone through a time in life where you felt settled and comfortable? This is what the people of Moab were experiencing, and it actually hurt them! Meanwhile, Israel had gone through exile, violent battles, and captivity. Although these were horrible experiences , they served as a ‘purification process’ that protected Israel from Moab’s stagnation. These two examples can serve as a mirror for us as we reflect on our spiritual journey. Whether you feel like the Moabites, comfortable and at ease, or like the Israelites, in constant battle, there is something to learn in each season. We have all probably experienced both extremes during different phases in our lives.
This chapter uses the analogy of the wine-making process. After pressing the wine from the grapes, the winemaker would pour it into a vessel, let it settle, and then pour it into another vessel. It was a meticulous process that would see the wine poured from vessel to vessel 8 – 10 times. When done too early, the dregs would pour into the new vessel. Done too late, and the wine would take on the bitter taste of the dregs. When done correctly, the process yielded sparkling, tasty wine, free from the bitter taste of dregs and purified from other unwanted particles. What does this process reveal about us and our Father?
As an entrepreneur, you have experienced different seasons in your enterprise and your personal life. Settling signifies seasons where things are looking up. You have finally secured a market niche, your customers are happy, and your business is growing steadily. It can be an exciting time to witness the idea you believed in come to life and make a difference in people’s lives. Your business comfortably supports your employees and their families, and your community benefits from the corporate social responsibilities you launched. This time can also get busy, as you are now looking at other priorities besides survival. Travelling has increased significantly, and you have doubled or tripled the number of meetings with customers and stakeholders. The wheels are turning faster as you hit the highway, shifting between cruise control and high gear for greater speed. The season of settling is one where it feels like life is working.
If you have not already experienced it, you might find yourself in a settling season in the future. It might be helpful to ask yourself this question:
Has the “cruise control” mode compromised your priorities for loving God and people?
I remember a time when I had early morning coaching sessions, which meant leaving home by 5.30am. Four days a week, from the break of dawn, I got to pursue my passion and dreams. Prior to this point, I would have morning prayer and devotion between 4.30 – 5.30am. However, once I started early morning coaching, prayer was replaced by preparations for the early start. I did not notice it initially due to the excitement of the new business, but over a period of time, I knew my morning prayer time was compromised.
In your own settling season, what spiritual priorities have you struggled to maintain?
Going back to our first example, Moab got comfortable, stayed settled, and took on the bitter taste of the dregs. Pouring, which symbolizes the affliction God allows in our lives, may be necessary to help us get rid of the dregs. The book of Psalms is full of genuine cries from Psalmists who experienced ‘pouring’. I particularly enjoy them because they reveal the sincere cries of people going through what I experience at times. They help me know I am not alone.
Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted.
– Psalm 25:16
I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth; I suffer Your terrors; I am distraught.
– Psalm 88:15
Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, The years in which we have seen evil.
– Psalm 90:15
Pouring is the opposite of settling. It is uncomfortable and painful. We may feel forsaken by the one we believe in most – Jesus. This season is often characterized by feelings of pain, disappointment, and despair.
A dear friend of mine called me one morning when his mother died after suffering an illness. A week before this call, we were sitting in his office discussing how he had lost licenses from two of his major service providers and consequently lost 80% of his business. Then, just three days after the passing of his mum, he lost his brother. I felt inadequate trying to be there for him as he processed these events. This was a tough time for him, both in his personal life and business. We had prayed together before the unfolding of these events, but they still happened.
We’ve all experienced ‘pouring’ at some point in our lives. Have you put your trust in God, even when the pain was beyond what you thought you could bear? When we are in the ‘pouring’ process, we face uncertainty and confusion about what is happening. It might feel like God is absent. These things can make it even more difficult to understand God’s love and presence.
Yet the Palmists give us some of their reflections as they view these seasons in hindsight:
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.
– Psalm 119:67
It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.
– Psalm 119:71
Dregs are contaminants that the winemaker must remove from the wine. The goal is for the wine to turn out sparkly and pure, but dregs taint the wine. This purification process reminds us of God’s loving, constant efforts to make us more like Him.
There are different ‘dregs’ that Jesus intends to clean through his word. Consider love – one that is easily polluted by dregs:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy;
love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail;
whether there are tongues, they will cease;
whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
– 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8
This is a beautiful description of what love is, and it reveals a lot of dregs that affect our love for God and people. Impatience, envy, pride, rudeness, self-centeredness, iniquity, evil thoughts, intolerance, and we all know that there are many other dregs that affect our love. I am currently aware of bitterness and offence as dregs that affect my love. I have been bitter at clients who have owed us money for an extended period of time. I have been offended when people broke my trust and short-changed my business. The first time God revealed these dregs and asked me to forgive, my attitude was, “Excuse me! Shouldn’t You be talking to them? They are the ones in the wrong.” To this, He lovingly replied, “I died for their sins. If you hold onto bitterness and unforgiveness, it will do you harm”. I am wiping tears as I pen this, because the ‘dreg’ of bitterness was painful, and it seems like letting go is even more painful. Apparently, before binding up each wound, God has to delve into the wound to cleanse it.
As you experience ‘pouring’, what dregs do you notice in you that Jesus wants to remove so you can love Him and others? Jesus is emptying us from vessel to vessel. It is not an easy process; it seems like a constant cycle of
“Things are good, the Lord has favored us, we’re comfortable”
“Uh oh, what’s happening here, I was enjoying the party”
“Where are you, God? You are my Father, I need you now, and I can’t see you in this”
“It was good that I was afflicted, I see what my Father was doing in me.”
He wants to make us into sweet wine that will serve Himself and others. Therefore, He will meticulously take us through the wine-making process. Whichever season you find yourself in, take heart! He is lovingly doing this for our good. And throughout the cleansing process, His Word will teach us more about Him.
Written by Victor Omollo
Victor is a Sinapis trainer and an entrepreneur himself. In 2015 he launched The Peculiar People, a company that supports professionals to cultivate better decision-making, embrace challenges as opportunities for innovation, and empower entrepreneurs. He is passionate about the Lord, his family and helping leaders and teams proactively articulate and achieve their strategic goals.