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Saturday, November 7, 2009

BEFORE THE HARVEST

God has called Himself the great husbandman. The earth is his field, we are His planting. I believe Isaiah 28:24-29 paints a beautiful scene of the processes He uses for our benefit.

" Doth the plowman plow all day to sow?
doth he open and break the clods of his ground?
When he hath made plain the face thereof,
doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin,
and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rye in their place? "


" For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.
For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument,
neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin;
but the fitches are beaten out with a staff,
and the cummin with a rod. "


" Bread corn is bruised;
because he will not forever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart,
nor bruise it with his horsemen.
This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts,
which is wonderful in counsel,
and excellent in working."


As this passage explains in great detail, the threshing instrument used depends on the type of grain being harvested. Fitches (fennel) was beaten with a staff and cummin with a rod. The heavier grain for bread, corn, wheat and barley had to be bruised. Often a heavy threshing cart had to be rolled over it to loosen the grain from the chaff.


Even the heavier grains were not threshed forever. There is great wisdom in the process. The ultimate goal is to obtain life giving and sustaining fruit from the fields. It is not beaten and threshed continually; only until the chaff and waste is separated from the life giving substance. As Isaiah says, those who have an ear, let him hear!


In our lives, each and every day, no matter how mundane or how all encompassing, God has a purpose. He is wise in counsel and excellent in His workings. Consider what Christ said in John 15:1,2 ~ " I am the true vine and My Father is the Husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit, He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit..."


This is the purpose; to bring forth fruit. It's interesting that according to Christ's words - we can be in Him, and still not bare fruit! The reason for the purging are to bring forth more fruit. This is the purpose Isaiah so beautifully described in his writings of the husbandman and his work; the rod, the threshing instruments, the cart and wheels separate the grain from the chaff.


What gives great encouragement is that the ploughman does not plough continually, only as long as necessary. If only the rod and the staff are needed, that is what is used. There are seasons, depending upon the harvest desired, that the heavier cart wheel and horsemen will be used to tread and separate the good from the bad. When this is necessary, remember , His anger lasts only from a moment in the context of the life giving grain that is provided.


Do not despise the chastening of the LORD; Whom the LORD loves, He chastens. His chastening will convince us of the foolishness of sin, it makes us pray more, we become more compassionate and loving of others; and it should produce an increase of faith. We must hold on until the end. It produces faith and hope in God.


Not only from an eternal prospective, but even now, immediate fruits appear after the threshing process. God's plowing of the barren ground in our souls transforms us into the image of Christ. The fruits produced are the fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. We do not just wake up with these fruits one morning! They are pruduced through His process. Although it seems severe most of the time; it is necessary.


We will bare fruit in its season! We look forward to that last great harvest when the angels thrust in the last sickle to reap one last time. May we each be laden down with much fruit for our Father. May His plowing and plantings and reaping not have been in vain. May He have much joy.


I picture Boaz, mentioned in the Book of Ruth, at the end of his harvest; it says he laid down with great joy on his threshing floor beside his heap of grain! May God do so with us. The Bible says God will rejoice with singing; over us!!


Yield to the plow, yield to the rod and threshing instrument, and when necessary, yield to the heavy wheel of the threshing cart; the fruit of the harvest will be worth it all. Our great comfort is the strong confidence that He is our Father and He will do no more than is needed.


It will be worth it all;
when we see Jesus,
life's trials will seem so small,
when we see Him.


One look at His dear face,
all sorrow will erase,
so gladly run the race,
til we see Christ.

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