November 17 - From Wilderness to Eden

Time and again, the Bible uses the imagery of the field to represent our lives. Living our lives is like cultivating a field in the hope of a big harvest at the end. Plowing the farrow ground, irrigating it, sowing seeds, tending the plants and reaping the harvest are some of the things every farmer does. It is also how we tend to our lives. In the parable of the sower, Jesus reminds us to become good soil for the seed of God, His Word to grow in. Those who sow the Word of God in their lives are to receive a great harvest of many folds.

While the Son of Man is sowing His seeds into our hearts, the enemy is also sowing tares in our lives. He is also using the world (riches and the cares of this life), the self (the fear of persecution) and the demonic spirits (the birds) to take away the good seeds and leave the bad seeds behind. God wants us to prosper but the devil wants to make our lives uncultivable  and unproductive. What is your life at this moment? Is it a well-watered garden or a piece of wasteland? Is your life thriving, growing and reproducing or is it dead?

The enemies of God, like Mount Seir, had been attacking Israel, trying to turn their prosperity into ruins. Through hatred, bloodshed, anger, jealousy, boasting, attacks and slandering, the enemies of God’s people were trying to turn the Promised Land into wasteland. The Lord wanted to reverse that, He declared that He was the One who would help them and turn to them so that once again their fields could be plowed and sown.

The way of such renewal or restoration is by the cleansing of their sins and taking away their hearts of stone. Stony soil is not fit for cultivation and so is a heart of stone. To make the soil productive, one has to take away all the stones and plow the soil into an arable state. The stone of flesh (soft) has to replace the heart of stone (hard). The first part is to repent and ask for God’s forgiveness, to take away the stony parts of one’s heart. The hardness of the heart is a key human condition resulting in not taking God’s commands seriously.

Confession can then bring in a pliable heart for the Holy Spirit to fill and rule. When God’s Spirit comes into a person’s heart, the person becomes a new creation. When the heart of stone is replaced by the heart of flesh, the Word of God can then grow and flourish. This is what the person may experience: a new heart and a new spirit with the Spirit of God taking control, giving the person power to know and do what God commands. Ask now the water of purification to be applied to you and be cleansed from all your sins. Invite the Holy Spirit to come into your heart and begin to experience a life of renewal.

Ps 124:1-5     Ezek 35:1-36:38     Jas 1:1-18     Prov 27:23-27

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