May 4, 2021
“Listen and hear my voice. Pay attention to what I say. Does the plowman plow every day to plant seed?"
“Listen and hear my voice. Pay attention to what I say. Does the plowman plow every day to plant seed? Does he continually break up and cultivate the soil? When he has leveled its surface, does he not scatter cumin and sow black cumin? He plants wheat in rows and barley in plots, with spelt as their border. His God teaches him order; He instructs him. Certainly, black cumin is not threshed with a threshing board, and a cartwheel is not rolled over the cumin. But black cumin is beaten out with a stick, and cumin with a rod. Bread grain is crushed but is not threshed endlessly. Though the wheel of the farmer’s cart rumbles, his horses do not crush it. This also comes from the Lord of Hosts. He is wonderful in counsel; He gives great wisdom.” Isaiah 28:23–29
Today’s chapter ends with a more promising note. A ploughman doesn’t keep on plowing indefinitely. He sows in order to reap.
Has God been “turning your soil” lately—perhaps, mixing in a bit of “manure” to boot? God is preparing you as a farmer prepares the land, to yield a bountiful crop of spiritual fruit! Spiritual discipline is what this chapter has all been about. Those who see the Father’s hand in it will profit. Yes, it involves hardship.
“Endure it as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline?” Hebrews 12:7
It is also unpleasant and painful.
“No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
God’s discipline is revealed in a variety of ways, like a farmer who plows and sows. The Lord deals differently with particular children in order to produce a harvest of grace. He may rebuke us through the reading of His Word (2 Timothy 4:2). He may use sickness (Romans 5:3–4). Sometimes He even uses Satan himself. Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was also a “messenger of Satan”(2 Corinthians 12:7). That is the lesson of the book of Job.
To those who have eyes to see, below the surface of a (seemingly) frowning God, there is a smiling face. Our lives, even when under discipline, are ordered by a God who is “wonderful in counsel” and “gives great wisdom.” God is preparing us, teaching us to faithfully endure pain and trust in Him, so that we can stand firm to administer the gospel at a time when others are being crushed by the weight of this world.
Endure His training. Nobody trusts when a poorly trained, out-of-shape soldier says, “I got your back!” Nor do they heed the rhetoric of the undisciplined Christian.
“Consider it great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2–4