SOWING THE SEED
the earth bringeth forth her bud and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it
forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations - (ISAIAH 61:11)
THE final six chapters of Isaiahs
prophecy are generally looked upon AS PROPHECIES FOR THE END time, and also prophecies for
the Kingdom. For instance, chapter 60 commences with those well-known words:
shine, for the light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee
This is action, as we approach or enter the Day of the Lord, a period which precursors His Return and a time when much activity will be evident, in particular it will be expected of the remnant, but all the adversaries of Israel will be just as active as they realise their last chance to bring Israel down. It was no mean thing when the Lord told His people watch and wait for His coming. Watchfulness is the order of the day.
A further example is chapter 65 which is indeed a wonderful appraisal of the Kingdom, verse 25 of this chapter is so often quoted as the epitome of peace in the animal kingdom, when predator makes peace and pursues no longer the animal which was his prey.
Sometimes Gods people are so busy thinking about their own standing in the Kingdom, and that of their friends, that they forget that the animals will be restored, the land will be restored and all creation will return to the Genesis situation of being good in Gods sight.
Let us now look at Isaiah 61:11, for I believe this shows us our mission today, with our eyes looking ahead to the Kingdom.
Of course it is always difficult in my book, at least, to take only one verse on which to meditate. It is usually necessary to read and consider the verses which have gone before as well as those following. I therefore recommend that we look back for a moment to verse ten, where you will see Gods servant nation prepared and rejoicing, because they are clothed in the garments of salvation, they are covered with the robe of righteousness. We are likened to the bride, in fact Israel has always been the bride of Christ and Jesus her husbandman. In this verse, she is ready for the marriage. You see her uncleanness when Isaiah
described it as ... all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags she has been washed in the blood of the Lamb, and is now covered with the robe of righteousness.
As we now move to verse eleven, I see this as a verse to remind ourselves what we should be doing now if we have prepared ourselves. Are we to just sit and wait for the Lords return, watching but doing nothing? At no time is a servant told to go out and do nothing. His master will plan the days work and if he is worthy of his hire, he will be obedient to the Masters call. Likewise, Israel must obey the Masters call, and follow instructions - obedience is better than all the sacrifices she could bring, and from obedience comes blessing. But no matter what work we are to undertake, in whatever field we operate, personal preparation must of necessity be the order of the day.
An engineer would be foolish to go out and attend a breakdownwithout adequate tools, or the know-how of their implementation. A chef would not attempt to prepare a banquet without first checking all the ingredients for his chosen recipes, and understanding them.
A doctor would not undertake an operation unless he had all his implements at hand and had the ability to use them.
There is certain phraseology for every trade and profession. The specialist will understand it.
We are reaching a good measure of readiness. As we begin to understand the phraseology of the Holy Scriptures, we are learning to put on the whole armour of God and we are able to discern Gods plan and purpose for us, His people.
The middle part of this verse, eleven, reads: ...as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it, to spring forth ...
The question is Who has sown the seed, and when were the sowers active?
Paul, when he was speaking and writing to Israelites at Corinth, found that he and his helpers were becoming pedestal preachers by the people. They were in a situation where some would follow Paul, and some would follow Appollos, so he spoke to the people adamantly, telling them that they were both ministers and preached as the Lord gave to each man:
planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase
There are many men
and women who are called to preach the Word of God and as long as they preach as the Lord
giveth, to each, no one man or woman will have a better ministry than another. The
planting of the seed and the watering of the seed are of equal importance.
You will notice in this chapter 61 from which I have taken my text, that it commences with the Lord Jesus Christs calling, which He fulfilled as He accepted His mission in the synagogue on the Sabbath day.
The chapter then continues, after verse three, referring to the plural - no longer one Man - thus bringing others into this glorious ministry. We read:
they shall build ... but many of the ministers and shepherds included in this become boastful, and are judged accordingly.
In verse eight the Lord says: I will direct their work in truth and I will make an everlasting covenant with them .
We therefore, after verse three, come into the office and service of those who will be the planters of the seed. To appreciate the subject of sowing or planting, the good seed, we can do no better than to look at the Lords parable of the sower - Luke 8:5-15.
In verse nine, the disciples asked the meaning of the parable, and He said: Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.
The Lord was again teaching the Kingdom of God and He expected those who knew Him to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom. Many of the mysteries of the kingdom are revealed to us through the prophetic Word. As we look at Isaiah 61, this is one example. We often wonder just what people who have read these chapters make of them if they do not believe in a literal Kingdom of God on this earth. It is so straightforward and clear for anyone to read.
The Lord said, when expounding the parable of the sower, that there were others who had to learn the mysteries of the Kingdom, through parables. The various categories of people who would receive the seed, are explained in verses 11-15.
An important consideration at this stage, of the parable, is stated in verse eleven: The seed is the WORD OF GOD
With time, we shall be able to discern the wayside hearers, those on the rock, those who are thorns, and those on the good ground. We may of course, sow the seed liberally, in any field, but there is little chance of it all bearing fruit, this is made clear in the Lords parable. Verse 15 states: But that on the good ground, are they which in an honest and good heart having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience
The Lord has given his own interpretation of the parable. If we were to examine all the categories we would see the bearing this has on our audience in general today.
Now we return to Isaiah chapter 61- we are lookingat the words: ... as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth ... The seed which is sown will never be lost if it is sown on the good ground, and this is what we see in this verse.
The remnant who are the sowers, have been sowing the seed for many generations.
It has truly been an Israelite generation custom, the elders of each tribe were chosen to pass on Gods counsel to the people, the prophets, as they wrote or spake under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, were sowers of the seed. The apostles were sowers, in fact Paul passed on these very wise words: it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that
The sowing of the seed must lead to Salvation.
In passing, I find it distressing to hear that many of the words which are used in the doctrines of the Lord Jesus Christ, either in Holy Scripture, or in commentaries, words such as salvation and regeneration evangelism fundamentalism are now becoming so distorted by the futurists, the charismatics, and the ecumenists, that the meaning of these words has changed. Even the word Christian has been stolen by Rome to describe the Romish Papal followers.
The Oxford Dictionary gives the definition of evangelical as: according to the teaching of the gospel or Christian religion, of the Protestant school maintaining that doctrine of salvation by faith is essence of gospel.
Let me remind you in this context, that the Lord Jesus Christ in His parable said: Those by the wayside are they that hear, then cometh the devil and taketh away the word, out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
In preparation for a Billy Graham Crusade in Denver, 80 Roman Catholic counsellors were trained. A crusade counsellor supervisor - a Roman Catholic, estimated that there were 500 decision cards being referred to one Roman Catholic church for just one service.
He said that Roman Catholics have trouble with the expression born again and he tries to help them understand it in the light of teaching of the Roman Church! He said that Catholic counsellors were at the crusade to help Catholics express their new and renewed faith in their mother church (Evangelical Times Jan. 88)
Verse 13 of the parable is a reminder of the charismatics. They receive the word with joy, and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation "fall away."
Now let us take a final look at the text quoted.
We have established that the remnant are the sowers, and the seed is the Word of God, now the Word suggests that the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth. The Holy Spirit will have the same effect on the Word -seed - which is sown, thus leading a man to salvation, to faithfulness, to righteousness, through Truth.
We are looking for, and longing for the day when the Lord will pour out His Spirit in revival, or an awakening. For many the awakening will be the Word once heard coming to life again and restoring the soul.
For others it will
be the convicting power of the Holy Spirit which will be in evidence and as they seek
salvation, the Word will be preached to show them the way.
For others the power for service will be increased and as Joel has shown us, all these things which will take place, the word prophecy comes to the fore, this is the preaching or foretelling the Word - the seed.
I would remind you that these gifts which are experienced in the apostolic age, are not being repeated in the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit, there is no mention of speaking in tongues, or interpretation, no mention of prophesy, no mention of healings or
miracles, no mention of a word of wisdom, or word of knowledge, discerning of spirits, or faith.
These gifts were for the edification of the church. The coming revival is for the unbeliever in the Nation, the one who needs awakening.
Now we see the result of the sowing!
The seed springs forth. This is a rather wonderful way of describing the advice which should be givento a convert. That is witness give a good testimony of what the Lord has done Let it spring forth.
Confess with your mouth, the Lord Jesus If you never confess His Name, it will become a strange sounding word to you.
Paul shortly after his conversion on the Damascus Road, preached Christ in the synagogues - he witnessed to the Son of God.
Now, finally, just as the word of testimony which has been received, by the word which was sown, was to spring forth, we see a further end product for the Christian path is not a cul-de-sac, it is not a dead-end. It is a continuing progression right through life, and the prophet says: ... so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations...
When Israel came out of Babylon and they were able to return to the Temple and attend the sacrifices and ordinances; they sang as they went.
As we know the LORD, He will give us a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. The heaviness is surely the burden for souls, the garment of praise is there when we have the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a gospel message, or evangel in this verse of prophesy, and it is something which we have to carry today until we have reached all the lost sheep of the House of Israel when our victory will be seen before all nations, as we put on the garments of praise.
The plan of God and His purpose will be worked out through His remnant. Let us take up the challenge.
THE CENTRE OF THE BIBLE
What is the
shortest chapter in the Bible? (Answer: Psalms 117)
What is the longest chapter in the Bible? (Answer: Psalms 119)
Which chapter is in the centre of the Bible? (Answer: Psalms 118)
Fact: There are 594 chapters before Psalms 118
Fact: There are 594 chapters after Psalms 118
Add these numbers up and you get 1188
What is the centre verse in the Bible? (Answer: Psalms 118:8)
Does this verse say something significant about Gods perfect will for our lives? The next time someone
says they would like to find Gods perfect will for their lives and that they want to be in the centre of His
will, just send them to the centre of His Word!
Psalms 118:8 (KJV) It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
Now isnt that odd how this worked out (or was God in the centre of it)?
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