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Farmer Jacob

(Genesis 29:21-35)

Lesson 8 -- fourth quarter 2007
October 21, 2007

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2007

He dug a pit

Our God is a God of order and predictability. His creation mirrors these aspects of His character. Whether you toss an orange in the air or release a bow's drawn string, certain events always transpire. You can always depend on gravity and the so-called Third Law of Motion to perform flawlessly. Thanks to the reproductive laws set forth in Genesis 1, the farmer who plants rye never even briefly entertains the notion of purchasing cheery picking and processing equipment for use in harvest. The housewife who plugs those corn seeds in her garden doesn't ever put up poles and twine just in case those seeds produce pole beans. Shocked indeed would be the electronics engineer whose whole body was jolted because plastic and computer chips alternately exchanged conductive properties.

God's spiritual laws are also orderly and predictable.

"Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same" (Job 4:8).

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Galatians 6:7-8).

Like produces like. Always. No exceptions. No disclaimers in fine print. So certain you can stake your life on it.

Not only does seed reproduce itself, it multiplies itself. I'm no farmer, but I can see little value in planting 1000 wheat seeds if all I can expect to receive for my investment is 1000 more seeds! And why buy a cow for breeding purposes if it will produce only one calf in its entire lifetime? The same principle holds true in spiritual agriculture.

"They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind" (Hosea 8:7).

"He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully" (2 Corinthians 9:6).

I fear we have overlooked this principle. We seem to forget it on the negative side; we think a "small" sin or bad habit will just stay that way and have only negligible consequences we are sure we can "live with." We also seem to forget this rule on the positive side. What is the use of doing such a small thing for somebody? And why be so generous and conscientious in our good works? This law puts a very different and uncomplimentary light on this common expression: "I've done my share!" If your heart grows tired and discouraged, take heart!

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9).

The harvest is coming, you can count on it. The principle of sowing and reaping is not intended as a curse but as a source of multiplied blessings and joys! Do not despise it; take advantage of it!

Poor Jacob! He seemed genuinely perplexed at Laban's treatment of him. However, I don't think it took him long to learn what a descendant of his put into words many years later -- "He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head..." (Psalm 7:14-15).

What about you and me? Sowers we are; reapers we are. Let's do it right and profitably for God and ourselves while we are at it!

Yesterday's planting

What did I plant in my life yesterday? If I don't harvest the same today, I surely will tomorrow or in some future tomorrow. It is so abjectly foolish to have sown thorns, poison ivy, and wild oats yesterday just because they weren't going to produce an undesirable harvest on that same day!

Though I have no guarantee of tomorrow, I need to pick the seeds I plant as though tomorrow were guaranteed! People who live for the present and the fun of it minimize the value of tomorrow. How absolutely stupid!

So let me remember that my life tomorrow is just as much my life as is my life today. Why shortchange myself tomorrow by planting an unwise harvest today?

If yesterday I planted selfishness, unkindness, disrespect, treachery, hypocrisy, insubmission, lawlessness, lust, covetousness, contempt, gossip, deceit, theft, or some other evil seed, I need to repent! Where necessary, I should offer apologies and amends.

Then I should change tomorrow's harvest. By planting new seed which is after righteousness. Today.

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