Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Before the Harvest

Tonight I read Jeremiah 31:1-6- "At that time, declares the Lord, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel and they shall be my people." Thus says the Lord: "The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appreared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Again I will build you, and you shall be built, o virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit. For there shall be a day when watchmen will call in the hill country of Ephraim: 'Arise and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God."

I love finding the promises in God's Word. What are a few of He promises in this passage?
(1.) He will be the God of all of Israel. (2.) They will be His people. (3.) He loves us with an everlasting love. (4.) His faithfulness continues forever. (5.) He is the One who builds us. (6.) We will be built.

Know this: He is our God and will be our God- forever. We are His people who is loved forever by Him. It is because of His everlasting love for us that He continues His faithfulness to us. He is the One who is shaping, crafting and building us into His likeness. He is our Maker and our Creator and He promises that we will be built. Remember 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24- "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it."

God also promises that what was once withered and dry ground will be a place for vineyards and will produce much fruit! This made me think of what it takes to plant a vineyard or a garden. The real work comes before you even plant the seeds. There must be a breaking up of the ground, a tilling, a uprooting of all the weeds and thistles in the soil so that the seeds may grow without being choked out. How does this apply spiritually?

Our souls must be uprooted and purged of all sin, flesh and self-glorifying desires so that Christ may plant His seeds within us so that we may produce His fruit. When we are being weeded out (which is a continual process- just like weeding is for a real garden) it may seem harsh and painful as God uproots deeper and deeper weeds within our souls, calling us to deeper surrender and giveness to Him.  Remember this: it is for one thing- it is for the Harvest. It is for His glory- the glory that comes out of the fruit that is produced in our lives. This is why He plows, tills and weeds out our souls. It is for His glory.

"Why should I be frightened and surprised by the plow of the Lord, which makes deep furrows in my soul? I know He is not some arbitrary or irrational farmer- His purpose is to yield a harvest."    
                                  -Samuel Rutherford
Though this process is painful and will cause you to shed many tears (believe me- I know! ) as He roots out sin and self but it is worth it all. Because it proves that our God is at work within us- refining and sanctifying us. Though the cuts are deep and painful remember this is for our greater good and God's glory.  What do we get in return? More of Jesus! More of His life within us!

So take heart my friend, know your God is at work even when you don't see the fruit or even the sign of a bud and all you see are weeds and soil being tilled....wait patiently- your God is working!

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