Psalm 77 and the Best Wine Last
Weddings are most traditional and the Jewish wedding of John 2 no exception. Best wine last was not according to expected tradition. But was not the best wine last actually first and is it not recorded four times in the New Testament where Jesus said, “The last shall be first” with an object lesson coming from His first miracle?
Best wine last is given to us over and over by Hebrew writers. In the familiar verse Isaiah 40:31, three characteristics are given of those who WAIT UPON THE LORD:
1) Mount up with wings like eagles.
2) Run and not be weary.
3) Walk and not faint.
Here, as is typical with Hebrew scriptural writings, the best wine comes last—WALK AND NOT FAINT. It is typical for Hebrew writings to work upward toward the apex when we come upon things listed, not downward. Now, of course, best wine does not warrant the discarding of not-best wine and “fat things” does not warrant the overlooking of “things not necessarily fat”.
When it comes to the four small things yet exceedingly wise mentioned in Proverbs 30, pay special attention to the last mentioned SOLITARY SPIDER distinguished in more ways than one from the other three. The other three are in the plural: ants, locusts, and conies. The spider only in the singular. The “they” of the first three mentioned is indefinite as to sex, but the “her” of the spider is most definite and significant. The solitary spider and her unexpected end of high promotion is noteworthy. More could be said, but moving on for now.
More specifically this post is about Psalm 77, but keep in mind—BEST WINE LAST. There is a definite shift in PERSPECTIVE from the first half to the second half of the twenty verses of Psalm 77. In the first 10 verses we find the pronouns “my” and “mine” 11 times. In the second half of Psalm 77, verses 11-20, we find the pronouns “thy” “thou” “thee” 19 times. The “my” and “mine” focus of the first half ends with 6 questions, back to back QUESTIONS. The second half of the Psalm has words like “wonders” (twice), “waters” “depths” “thunder” and “lightnings”, but the apex, the zenith, the best wine is the last verse. The last verse is NOT anticlimatic, it is rather the glorious climax. The French have an interesting word “denouement”. The build up of the last half of the Psalm should bring the reader to shout with great exclamation the last verse, verse 20, “THOU LEDDEST THY PEOPLE LIKE A FLOCK BY THE HAND OF MOSES AND AARON.” There are some who would not begin to question the sovereignty of God over His created worlds (which is actually His finger-work, see Psalm 8:3), but do they ever want to hold the bus when it comes His absolute sovereignty over human kind and events involving humans. God’s arm-work (Psalm 77:15 and note also Exodus 6:6, Isaiah 53:1) will not strain Him in the least even as it involves wilderness journeys of millions of cantankerous and murmuring Jews. Human opposition and fickleness will in no way thwart God’s eternal purpose for His Son and His people. God’s finger-work may involve celestial creative and maintaining powers beyond comprehension, but the apex, the zenith, the BEST WINE of Psalm 77 involves His terrestial, terra firma work of leading His people through a wilderness by the hand of Moses and Aaron for that terrestial, down to earth work centers and focuses on the INCARNATION OF “THOU SHALT CALL HIS NAME JESUS; FOR HE SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS” (Matthew 1:21).
By Bill Bryant