Updated: Oct 13, 2019
The wicked earns deceptive wages, But he who sows righteousness gets a true reward.
He who digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him.
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them." The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
Believe God - Believe in the Lord of the Harvest
Jesus told His followers, "Believe in the Light, so that you may become sons and daughters of the Light." He went on to tell them, "Believe in God; believe also in me." The very foundation of our faith is predicated upon our belief in God. The scripture says…
“Believe and you will be saved, believe and you will be healed, believe that we will live with Him, believe that God exists, believe that God is one, believe in the love that God has for us, believe for the hour is coming, believe my words… believe that you have received it.”
Belief in God is key. In our context, of sowing and reaping the sower (us) must believe in the very God who promised the harvest so that we can believe that the harvest will come. The word of God is filled with promises from the Lord of the Harvest. We can’t believe in a promise unless we can believe in the One who made it. There are promises from the Lord of the Harvest that are both for us and about us - we must believe in God so that we can in faith believe in both. Then in due season the harvest will come. Believe God - Believe in the Lord of the Harvest. Good Seed - Good Fruit - Good Outcomes.
Love God - Believe in the Lord of the Harvest
God's promise to all mankind is His love. There are no conditions, exemptions, or provisions to that promise because God's love is not something God does, but rather it is who God is - God is love.
1 John 4:8-12
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
God's covenant promise to His people has always included these three - blessing, covering, and favor.
If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely. I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. And I will remove harmful beasts from the land, and the sword shall not go through your land. You shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you and will confirm my covenant with you. You shall eat old store long kept, and you shall clear out the old to make way for the new. I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves. And I have removed the weight of your burden and made you walk upright.
As we read this God's Spirit reveals something to us; His original covenant was never going to be exclusively to the ancient Fathers and the Jews in Egyptian captivity. Though they are His namesake, the provisions of that original covenant were destined to be foundations for a New Covenant through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All who believe are All called by His name. However, one significant condition of the original covenant would remain. That condition - that we are faithful to our covenant with God through the provisions of Jesus - love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said, "On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
In loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and in loving others as He has loved us, we will soon discover in reality that we are righteously practicing the Principles of Sowing and Reaping. We are sowing good seed - producing good fruit - and experiencing good outcomes. This is why it is so essential for us as husbands, wives, parents, leaders, and Christ followers to love God and to believe in the Lord of the harvest. Sowing and Reaping is the practical process for us to experience and live within God's promise to bless, cover, and favor our lives. Loving means something to real to us - believing produces something real for us. We must come to a significant place in our life - this life means something to us and to God. The Seed we sow must mean something to us - it is the gateway to God's blessing, covering and favor. Sometimes that is a difficult process and an even more difficult understanding.
I came across this article in the last couple weeks during my research for this teaching. It is from a sermon by a missionary named Del Tarr who served fourteen years in West Africa through the Global Mission Outreach of the Assemblies of God. His story is a powerful illustration of the price some people pay to sow the seed of the gospel in hard soil.
I was always perplexed by Psalm 126 until I went to the Sahel, that vast stretch of savanna more than four thousand miles wide just under the Sahara Desert. In the Sahel, all the moisture comes in a four month period: May, June, July, and August. After that, not a drop of rain falls for eight months. The ground cracks from dryness, and so do your hands and feet. The winds of the Sahara pick up the dust and throw it thousands of feet into the air. It then comes slowly drifting across West Africa as a fine grit. It gets inside your mouth. It gets inside your watch and stops it. The year’s food, of course, must all be grown in those four months. People grow sorghum or milo in small fields.
October and November, these are beautiful months. The granaries are full—the harvest has come. People sing and dance. They eat two meals a day. The sorghum is ground between two stones to make flour and then a mush with the consistency of yesterday’s Cream of Wheat. The sticky mush is eaten hot; they roll it into little balls between their fingers, drop it into a bit of sauce and then pop it into their mouths. The meal lies heavy on their stomachs so they can sleep.
December comes, and the granaries start to recede. Many families omit the morning meal. Certainly by January not one family in fifty is still eating two meals a day. By February, the evening meal diminishes. The meal shrinks even more during March and children succumb to sickness. You don’t stay well on half a meal a day.
April is the month that haunts my memory. In it you hear the babies crying in the twilight. Most of the days are passed with only an evening cup of gruel. Then, inevitably, it happens. A six- or seven-year-old boy comes running to his father one day with sudden excitement. “Daddy! Daddy! We’ve got grain!” he shouts. “Son, you know we haven’t had grain for weeks.” “Yes, we have!” the boy insists. “Out in the hut where we keep the goats—there’s a leather sack hanging up on the wall—I reached up and put my hand down in there—Daddy, there’s grain in there! Give it to Mommy so she can make flour, and tonight our tummies can sleep!”
The father stands motionless. “Son, we can’t do that,” he softly explains. “That’s next year’s seed grain. It’s the only thing between us and starvation. We’re waiting for the rains, and then we must use it.”
The rains finally arrive in May, and when they do the young boy watches as his father takes the sack from the wall and does the most unreasonable thing imaginable. Instead of feeding his desperately weakened family, he goes to the field and with tears streaming down his face, he takes the precious seed and throws it away. He scatters it in the dirt! Why? Because he believes in the harvest. The seed is his; he owns it. He can do anything with it he wants.
The act of sowing it hurts so much that he cries. But as the African pastors say when they preach on Psalm 126, “Brother and sisters, this is God’s law of the harvest. Don’t expect to rejoice later on unless you have been willing to sow in tears.” And I want to ask you: How much would it cost you to sow in tears? I don’t mean just giving God something from your abundance, but finding a way to say, “I believe in the harvest, and therefore I will give and sow what makes no sense. The world would call me unreasonable to do this—but I must sow regardless, in order that I may someday celebrate with songs of joy.”
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