The Fruit of Our Labor

Isaiah 16-20

Focus: Isaiah 17:11 The day you begin cultivating, you do what you can to make it grow; the morning you begin planting, you do what you can to make it sprout. Yet the harvest will disappear in the day of disease and incurable pain.

Growing a garden was one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid. Many times we depended on our harvest to make ends meet at the end of the season. Ensuring a good harvest required planning, preparation, and constant cultivation. The right seeds had to be used in the right soil. The soil had to be prepared with the right fertilizer, and there had to be a proper amount of water. It always required a lot of work, but at the end of the season it was always worth the effort when we picked our fresh fruits and vegetables.

Just as there was a certain procedure to follow for gardening, so also is there a right way for living. Yahweh has given us his Torah as an extended hand pointing down a path indicating a way that will go well for us. If we follow his instructions, there is a promise of protection and blessing. Our lives can yield incredible fruit. But what happens when we fail to follow God’s instructions?

In Isaiah 16-20, we can see what happened to a nation that had stopped cultivating a spiritual crop. God’s people Israel forgot the extended hand of Yahweh pointing to the way that is good. As a result, what they cultivated did not produce fruit that was life giving. In fact, Yahweh promised that their pursuits would leave them empty and abandoned. Because they departed from their Covenant with the Lord, their harvest disappeared in the day of disease and incurable pain . They reaped what they sowed.

Passages like this should encourage us to be careful of what we are cultivating in our life. I love the quote, “Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” It reminds me that my thoughts are the very indicator of where I am receiving my instructions for life. My thoughts are the “day of cultivation.” Therefore, it is essential for me to make sure my thoughts are rooted in truth. Departing from God’s truth is to depart from God’s protection and blessing.

While living by God’s truth can seem burdensome at times, it will be worth it all in the day of harvest. Failure to sow or committing to sowing the wrong seeds in life promises a devastating yield at the time of harvest. What kind of fruit will your labor produce?

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