God puts a desire in our hearts as a seed before fulfilling that so that we nurture that seed of desire through our prayers and trust. The more we pray for that, the more is the growth of that tree in faith and we get filled with hope of its fulfillment by God. During this time of waiting we are also prepared by God to enable us for optimal utilization of that blessing for God’s glory and well being of others. This then forms a cycle of our life from one blessing to another from God.
Relationship between sowing and reaping – ‘The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed’. Man was put in the Garden of Eden to ‘tend and keep it’ and to fill and subdue the earth (Genesis 2:8 & 15). This task involved extending the borders of the Garden beyond what was there. After the sin of disobedience God sent both Adam and Eve out of the Garden and a cherub was placed to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:23-24). Cherubim are always associated with the presence of God in the Scripture and the denial was for the tree of life but not from the Garden or the meeting place with God and they still had access to God and the Garden both. Mankind was permitted to take the seed from the Garden but the man caused curse on the ground would result in hard labor to produce what came up at just a command in the Garden. The denial of seed of the Tree of life led to death and decay in mankind.
The second aspect of the sin was claiming of personal ownership when after giving birth to Cain, Eve said, ‘I have acquired a man from the LORD’ (Genesis 4:1). Man attempted to own what was God’s and received from Him. The desire of mankind to ‘make a name for ourselves’ and the seed of this personal ownership was not from God but from the devil (Genesis 11:4). God’s seed was ‘I have given you’ and ‘it shall be for you’ (Genesis 1:28-30). God put all created things under man’s control but He being Creator does not lose His Sovereign authority over all of His creation (Psalm 8:6).
So we have two types of seeds available for us, one from God which He, with His Spirit helps us to nurture and multiply and the other from the devil which produces ‘thorns and thistles’. This second seed is of self effort and anything that is not from faith is sin’ (Romans 14:23). Lord Jesus said, ‘Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted’ (Matthew 15:13. The Son of God appeared as man to destroy the works of the devil and eventually judge mankind (1 John 3:8). On the cross, after ‘knowing that all things were accomplished’ Lord Jesus declared, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:28 & 30). The Son of God ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father in full glory and honor and God put all things under His feet and He has dominion over everything (Ephesians 1:22). But that does not mean that He is there to give me whatever I want without my doing anything.
The command from God is very clear, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it’ and this is work, though He blesses me in every aspect of this (Genesis 1:28). A tree bears fruit and man’s fruitfulness is in the blessings of the LORD and this must result in the exercise of dominion over the creation. But the act of disobedience of man brought about a curse on the ground and the same earth which yielded its fruit at a command from God would now require ‘toil’ and hard work to produce its yield (Genesis 3:17). The curse due to sin changed a man from being one able to operate in both spiritual and material realms into his confinement into the material realm only. The meaning of being created in the ‘image and likeness’ of God is about empowered to create through the spoken word for the power of God’s Spirit would cause that to happen (Genesis 1:27).
Before removing Adam and Eve from the Garden why did God clothe them with ‘garments of skin’ (Genesis 3:21)? The obvious reason is to cover something and also provide protection from something. The spiritual aspects of life were covered and protection given from the fallen nature. In this new nature, man was made subject to the vagaries of creation over which he had dominion and authority. Now he is required to sow seed physically to receive its crop and that too with hard labor. Man became subject to the chronological time cycle and the natural cycle of life of season for everything. In the Garden of Eden the produce was immediate but not anymore and from this curse only the Redeemer would set mankind free.
Redemption from sin – Deuteronomy 28 is a classic example of God’s command about obedience and blessings and curses for turning away from His commands. The Old Testament decision of God is death for the one who sins and it will not be carried forward to the next generation and likewise will the righteousness be counted (Ezekiel 18:20). A sin deserving of death resulted in hanging from a tree and such a person ‘is accursed of God’ (Deuteronomy 21:23). God made His Son, ‘who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God’ and through His death on the cross we are reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:21). The Living Word revealed the glory of God for in Him is life and the life was the light of men. Through faith in Him we are reconciled to God and made part of His Divine family (John 1:1-4 & 12-14). Since life is in Him, He is our Tree of Life.
God told Cain about the shed blood of Abel, ‘crying out from the ground’ and the earth seeking retribution for that (Genesis 4:10). Since blood is the life of an animal, the Israelites were forbidden to eat that (Deuteronomy 12:23). The High Priest was required to atone for the collective sins of the Israelites, once a year, and sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat of the Ark, in the most holy place, seven times (Leviticus 16:14). By the sacrifice of the Messiah on the cross all believers are now sanctified forever and can partake from the table of God (Hebrews 10:10). David on becoming King sought out someone from King Saul’s house ‘to show the kindness of God’ and Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, who was lame in his feet was brought and received restoration of all the Saul and to eat at David’s table as one of his own children (2 Samuel 9:1-7). This is the blessing that Lord Jesus has provided to us through His death, resurrection and ascension into heaven. His proclamation on the cross ‘It is finished’ is the end of all curse for us and we are freed from the consequences of sin.
We work in the power and the authority of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word and the labor is not to earn but to take back from the devil what is ours. The way for acting out in faith was shown by the Lord through the cursing of the fig tree and the disciples were taught to speak to the mountain of any affliction or lack to move it out of their lives (Mark 11:20-23). We desire good fruit of result of our spoken word in prayer but what is the seed that we sow? Lord Jesus has said, ‘The seed is the Word of God’ and as we speak and claim the promise of the Word of God we can wait for reaping the harvest of abundance in our life (Luke 8:11).
As we speak God’s word we are planting the seed in our heart for the harvest of desired results. Lord Jesus explained the parable of the sower and the seed and the same seed is scattered all over in the field. It is only the seed that fell on good ground that produced good crop while from the wayside or casual listeners lose the seed to the devil. The rocky ground loses to the temptations and the one among the thorns are ‘choked with cares, riches and pleasures of life’. Good crop is after hearing ‘the word with a noble and good heart’ to keep it and bear fruit with patience (Luke 8:11-15). This change of heart comes about only through the mercy and work of the Holy Spirit.
God promises to give ‘a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh’ (Ezekiel 36:26). God promises to fulfill the desires of the heart when we delight in Him, trust Him and commit our ways to Him (Psalm 37:4-5). God first places the desire in the heart as a seed and then seeks to fulfill it as an answer to our prayers. Apostle Paul received a vision from God as a seed in His heart and did not deviate from that (Acts 26:19).
The seed of God’s Word is nurtured through faith and ‘faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God’ (Romans 10:17). This word ‘hearing’ is a continuous process and not a onetime thing. God promised Joshua to be with him, give him all the land that he will step on, ‘no one will be able to stand before you all the days of your life’. The condition was ‘This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth’, keep speaking, keep hearing the word for it to grow in you (Joshua 1:3-8).
First, God planted the seed in His Son, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ (Matthew 3:17). Satan’s question to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God’ had no effect and Lord Jesus did not think it worth to answer that (Matthew 4:3 & 6). The strength of the seed was revealed in Lord Jesus’ words, ‘Father I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me’ (John 11:41-42). The power of God’s Word in His Son resulted in all miracles and a declaration about His having been given authority to have control over His life to lay it down and take it up again (John 10:17-18).
The second time God the Father sowed the seed of His Word personally was during the transfiguration of His Son by saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’ (Matthew 17:5). This second sowing of the Word by God was in the heart of the disciples to follow His commands. Apostle Peter confirmed the command of God the Father during the transfiguration of Lord Jesus as a prophetic word which must be heeded to shine as light in a dark place (2 Peter 1:17-19). God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning father of many nations and his wife Sarai to Sarah (Genesis 17:5-6 & 19). Abraham was a rich man and it is believed that he had approximately two thousand people in his household and every time someone called him by the new name he was reminded of the promise of God to sustain seed sown in his heart through faith.
God provides the seed to us (2 Corinthians 9:10) and Apostle Paul then said, ‘I planted, Apollos watered but God gave the increase’ for faith itself is a gift of God and without Him no branch can bear fruit by itself (1 Corinthians 3:6). Satan blinds the minds of people that the seed of God’s word cannot take root (2 Corinthians 4:4). God was well aware of this fact and His daily visits to the Garden to meet Adam and Eve was about encouraging them to grow in faith and this growth cannot take place without daily fellowship with God through His Word. The Jews pray three times a day, the Muslims five times and every religion advocates daily visit to the place of worship. A believer without this daily worship and prayer is like a person who remembers his provider only in time of need.
Lord Jesus assured the believers, ‘Everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds and to him who knocks it will be opened’ (Matthew 7:8). One must knock to enter into His presence, seek Him to find Him and only then can one ask and without this being an everyday practice, no one can really understand where to knock and be assured of an answer.
1 Samuel 17 is a great example of seed of this world and of heaven. Goliath challenged the Israelites for a one on one battle and they were ‘dismayed and greatly afraid’. Eliab, David’s elder brother rebuked him for enquiring about the giant and David, about 16-17 years old, told King Saul that he will go and fight. King Saul discouraged him by saying, you are not able to do it for you are yet a youth but David moved in faith in God’s word and defeated and killed Goliath. Prophet Elijah declared to king Ahab that he stood before God and in the strength of this closeness he could perform all those miracles (1 Kings 17:1). Lord Jesus has promised, that all believers are equipped and empowered to imitate Him in all works and even ‘do greater works’ (John 14:12). This is the seed from The Savior Lord and when we move in faith we bear fruit of great works of faith to glorify our Father in heaven through His Son.
We hear God’s Word and it enters as seed in our heart. Living a life surrendered to God we tend to this seed under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit to make it grow into a big tree. For great fruit, the seed must be good, there must be proper daily care and instructions must be received from the Provider regularly. Satan will definitely try and steal the seed, plant mixed or wrong seed of similar nature and thus destroy the good crop. Reaping, therefore, is not only about sowing the good seed properly but also about daily tender care. We plant but only God gives the increase!