Now is the time

When someone asks me to do something I’d already planned on doing, immediately I want to say no. It has turned from being an optional thing into a thing that must be done. And, now that it must be done, I don’t want to do it anymore. It’s not the greatest attitude to have. Especially when it comes to spiritual things.

I said, “Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.

Hosea 10:12 (NLT)

These statements from the Lord were not given as options. You might want to plant the good seeds of righteousness. Maybe think about plowing up the hard ground of your hearts. No, these are statements of things that must be done if we want to reap the rewards that are also described.

Chances are that you’ve planted something before. Maybe in school. Perhaps a garden in your yard. A flower pot on your patio. The soil is as important as the seed. This is why Jesus told a whole story about the soil. In the parable of the sower, Jesus took the time to describe the different types of soil in detail, but never gave any indications as to what the seed may have been or looked like.

As he scattered it across the field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them.

Matthew 13:4 (NLT)

We can assume that the footpath was hard, packed, well-trod soil—if you can even call it soil anymore. When soil is hard and packed, a seed cannot even get far enough into the ground to sprout roots. All that potential becomes nothing more than bird food. God tells us that we must plow up that hard ground. Now is the time to do it.

Unlike planting, soil preparation can happen at any time. A farmer can start preparing a field for planting a year or more in advance. If the plot of land is particularly hard and stony, it will take time to make it useful for planting. So long as the ground is accessible, it can be prepared.

Our hearts are the same as the unprepared field. We don’t need to wait for a certain season to start. We just need to prepare ourselves to receive the seed. God will take care of the rest. But if we never take the time to prepare ourselves, we can never expect to reap a harvest. Any seed that may be scattered will be snatched away.

Let’s stop waiting and procrastinating. Get the job done while it is still a choice, not a duty. Now is the time to seek the Lord.

Daily Bible reading: Hosea 9-11, Revelation 2

Fruit Trees

Have you ever taken over something? Anything, really. When you’re not the one to start something, there are usually things (or everything) that you want to change. You want to do it your way! Who cares how the last person did it? The job is now yours!

If you surround and attack a city for a long time, trying to capture it, do not destroy its trees with an axe. You can eat the fruit from the trees, but do not cut them down. These trees are not the enemy, so don’t make war against them. But you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build devices to attack the city walls, until the city is captured.

Deuteronomy 20:19-20 (NCV)

What do war and trees have to do with a takeover? Nothing and everything.

When you take over and want to change everything right away, stop. Take the time to go over the way things have been done. Learn why they’ve been done that way. Whether it’s a new job, an area in ministry, a church or a small task, the person who came before you most likely had a reason for doing things a certain way.

When we plow ahead with our own ideas, we run the risk of losing things of importance. Like God warning Israel not to cut down the trees that could sustain them, take the time to find out what sustains the process. Try to abstain from grabbing your axe first thing and clumsily clearing the way for your own way. In an effort to get things just so, you may destroy the very thing that could have helped you the most.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 20-22, Mark 14:26-50

Burn it all

You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. You shall not worship the Lord you God in that way.

Deuteronomy 12:2-4 (ESV)

I’ve never had idols that I worshipped. Not this sense. Not that I’ve carved for the specific purpose of worship. But I’ve had things in my life that I put before God. I’m sure that, at some point, we’ve all had those things.

But what do we do with them when we turn away from them? Do we put it in a dark corner in case we might want to bring it out again to look at later? Do we put it on display and say that it no longer has a hold over us? Or do we tear it down and burn it so that nothing remains?

When we turn to God from the things that hold us back, we should utterly destroy the old thing. Like Elisha slaughtering his oxen and burning his plow. He made sure that there was nothing to go back to.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 11-13, Mark 13:1-13