Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
I read a book called Life’s Choices written by a wonderful author named John Lawrence. For me Lawrence’s book fully captured the intent and heart of the biblical principles of sowing and reaping. He organized these biblical principles of eternal truth into seven laws (good number). I am going to borrow Lawrence’s seven laws, but give my take and context on what those laws are and how those laws must mean come something in our spiritual journey of sowing and reaping. If you are thinking of Instagramming or Tweeting John to tell him that I borrowed his laws you might not reach him, unfortunately he passed away in 1995. He was battling cancer and yet was teaching on the Laws of the Harvest ten days before he died. Thankfully John’s inspired work remains for us to use – he tell us that he borrowed them too…
The Seven Laws of the Harvest
One – We Reap Only What Has Been Sown
Most of us have figured out by now that our lives are filled with choices. Choices that affect our outcomes on an everyday basis in everything we do which means our everyday choices are not without significance or meaning. Our choices deeply affect not only us, but everyone we touch and love. This is really happening. It’s happening in dramatic ways whether we see the fruit of those choices in real time or not. In reality, our choices are the seed we sow… Day in – day out, we reap only what has been sown by the choices we make.
In spite of the far reaching impacts of this law we should not fear it – rather we should embrace it because of its power to be and to do such good in our lives. I admit the idea that our daily choices having such impact and meaning is in itself intimidating, but still we must embrace the opportunity and gift that God gives us through making choices to bring His goodness into our life and the lives of those we love the most. Don’t freeze! Even a failure to make choices is a choice. This opportunity to tap into the goodness of God should motivate us to make wise choices in which we can be and do good things with the time we have for the people we love.
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.
So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
We need that wisdom, so we can make wise choices! Don’t be fearful of looking to the future. There is wisdom in looking ahead to envision the outcomes God has promised through sowing and reaping. It answers your why? Why make good and godly choices? Because we reap only what has been sown.
“We look to the future to find the beginning, not merely to see the end.”
Two – We Reap the Same as the Kind We Sow
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Whatever we sow, we reap; so that, if we sow good, we will reap good. This principle is an absolute law, not karma – law. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. These words introduce not only the law of sowing and reaping, but the fact that we reap the same in kind as we sow. This is a real warning and stresses the absolute intense nature of this law.
Be not deceived is planao; to cause to deviate, lead astray, deceive. It means, to actively resist from being deceived, led astray, simply do not allow it to happen. The call to courage and diligence in watching and anticipating the constant threat and activity of our spiritual enemies seeking to rain down hell and chaos on our spiritual walk with God. It warns and reminds us that Satan and a world system under his control is ever at work with his original lie, “you surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).
God is not mocked is mukterizo; to turn up one’s nose at, to treat with contempt, to sarcastically ridicule. We cannot ignore and respond with contempt to God’s truth and laws by attempting to live by our own wisdom and ways without serious consequences – that is a flawed system. If anyone had told King David before or even right after his affair with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) that he would break just about every one of the revered laws of Moses, he would more than likely have denied it. But the laws of sowing and reaping and this law in particular, “we reap the same in kind as we sow,” strongly show our need to hear good advice and to pay attention to strong warnings. No need to be defensive or get angry – maybe there is something there we do not see or do not want to see. if there is nothing there see then it truly as they say… all good! But if we get good advice and strong warnings and do not hear, listen to God’s Spirit, we could be like David – in serious trouble and reaping the same in kind as he had sown. Before it was all said and done he had;
coveted his neighbor’s wife
committed adultery with neighbors wife
had neighbor murdered
stole neighbors wife
lied about coveting neighbors wife, sleeping with neighbors wife, murdering neighbor so he could steal neighbors wife
David’s downward spiral is a big-time warning to each of us of the deceit and intensity of sin, and the devastating consequences of reaping the same in kind as we sow. For sure… David repented, apologized, and made things right but his choices sowed a seed that were harvested in his own life. Here is the reality of that story…
Not long after David had brought the ark of God to Jerusalem the season changed to spring and the army of Israel went to do battle with their enemies as the cold and mud of winter was not conducive to war- making.
David, as was sometimes his practice, had not gone out with his army but allowed Joab to lead them. By now, David only led the armies directly when they had some difficulty – as was the case in the battle with the Ammonites. But David did not go because he had other things on his mind.
In the evening, when it was cool enough to be on the roof of the palace, David walked around and saw a woman on top of another building who was bathing. In keeping with his often-impetuous nature David sent someone to find out who she was and then to bring her to him. His immaturity was such that he committed adultery with her, even though she was known to him as the wife of one of his soldiers, a man currently on the battlefield. Bathsheba returned home and in a while discovered herself pregnant by David. David attempted to cover-up his sin by calling her husband home, under cover of inquiring about the battle, but really to get him to be with his wife so that he’d think the child was his. Uriah was a more honorable man than David and refused to even go into his home so long as his fellow soldiers were in harms-way. When David’s sneaky plan failed he escalated his scheming and instructed Joab to manipulate the placement of Uriah in the battle so that he’d be exposed and killed by the enemy – which is what happened. After the mourning for her husband, Uriah, David summoned Bathsheba to the palace and added her to his wives.
Nathan, the prophet, confronted David with a parable and David’s condemnation of the selfish man in the story convicted him for the taking of Uriah’s wife and causing him to be killed by the Ammonites. Nathan reminded David that he had sinned first against the Lord God, and David confessed and repented of that. Nathan told David that while he was forgiven, keeping the Lord God from striking him dead, he would no longer have peace with his enemies, his own wives would be taken and sexually assaulted by a relative, and his illegitimate child with Bathsheba would die.
David fasted and prayed but the boy still died. Although his servants could not get him to eat or to drink while the child was sick but not yet dead, once the child died David rose and bathed and worshiped, then he ate; explaining to astonished servants that there was no longer any chance that the Lord God would relent from His punishment, so he must go on with life. Bathsheba bore David another son whom they called Solomon, but whom the Lord God instructed them through Nathan to also call Jedediah, meaning “loved by the Lord”.
Joab had finally about overcome the resistance at the Ammonite fortress so he sent word for David to lead the final assault so he, not Joab, would receive the credit. David did so, the plunder was great, and the Ammonites were forced to do heavy labor for Israel.
David’s thirty-second Psalm was a wisdom-song in which David used his own refusal to confess his sin, followed by his confession and repentance, as a teachable-moment for others to break free of the trap of prideful isolation from the Lord God. David’s fifty-first Psalm was his repentant reaction after the prophet Nathan confronted him in the matter of Bathsheba.
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
· Three – We Reap in a Different Season Than We Sow
· Four – We Reap More Than We Sow
· Five – We Reap in Proportion to What We Sow
· Six – We Reap the Full Harvest of the Good Only if We Persevere; The Evil Comes to Harvest on its Own
· Seven – Last Year’s Harvest is Gone, This Year’s Harvest is Yet to Come
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