How Does Your Garden Grow? – The Preparation
11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.
12 The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.
I need to start out with a disclaimer. I readily admit that I know very little about gardening…at least in practical experience. So I’m probably opening myself up to criticism from some the gardening experts out there, but that’s a chance I’ll have to take.
What I do know is that to have a successful garden, you have to be committed to it. You have to stay right on top of the needs of that garden. Whether it is weeds that need to be hoed, bugs that need to be sprayed, or wildlife that needs to be kept out, every task must be carried out in a timely manner in order to maintain a good garden. Otherwise, it won’t have a chance to be productive. There are so many natural enemies to a garden and you have to protect your garden from each one.
There was a man in Karnak, IL that planted a garden in my wife’s parent’s back lot every year. You could find him in that garden almost every day doing something. He was diligent in working in that garden hoping for a harvest. He was usually well rewarded.
I started thinking about the basic tasks that are involved in gardening. Knowing that there are so many details involved, I wanted to focus on 2 basic tasks and the final result.
I. The Preparation
The first thing I want to talk about is the preparation. The ground has to be prepared. During the winter months, there has been freezing, thawing and even the sun shining down on the surface of the ground making it so hard and crusty. If the ground hasn’t been properly prepared when the spring rains start to fall, the water won’t be able to soak into the ground.
Solomon told us that “…he that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread….” I believe that the opposite of that is also true. He that doesn’t till his land shall want for bread. It is of utmost importance that the ground is prepared.
God spoke to the men of Judah and Jerusalem through the prophet, Jeremiah. He was trying to get them to turn away from the wickedness of idolatry.
For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
Don’t plant the seed on sun-baked, hardened ground. Don’t plant it among thorns. In other words, your ground isn’t ready. You need to get all of the thorns and brush out of the land. Get rid of all of those things that can potentially limit or prevent your harvest.
Break up your fallow ground. That word fallow simply means untilled or uncultivated ground. Judah, Jerusalem, get your ground ready for the planting. Get your ground ready for the rain. He was telling them to get rid of their idols.
In another place, God spoke to Israel through the prophet, Hosea with a very similar message.
Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
You can’t make it rain or create a harvest. No one has the power to cause the seed to sprout or grow or the ability to multiply the harvest. But there is something you can do. You can till the land. You can break up your fallow ground and get your heart ready for His rain of righteousness.
When you look at verse 13 of Hosea 10, God made it clear why it was so important for them to break up their fallow ground
Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.
You have plowed, planted and reaped iniquity because you were trusting in your own power and leaning on your own ways. You trusted in the multitude of your mighty men when you should have been trusting in Me. And that iniquity, that misplaced trust, has hardened the soil of your heart. You need to break up the fallow ground and seek the Lord until He sends the rain and soaks you through and through with His Spirit.
That task, breaking up the fallow ground, may very well be the one thing that’s standing between you and the blessing you have been desiring. It may be the thing that’s preventing you from receiving the baptism you’ve been seeking or the healing that you’ve been needing.
Think about it for a minute. Have you been experiencing the joy of His rain as His Spirit moves in the house of the Lord. But it seems like there’s no lasting effect in your life. The very next day you sense that nothing has really changed. You need to consider that it just may be that the ground of your heart has been hardened.
Maybe it was hardened by the hurt of people that have stepped all over you. Maybe it was hardened by the burdens of life that are weighing you down or simply the cares of this world. You look around at all that’s happening in our country and in the world and you feel yourself getting harder and harder.
I believe it’s very possible that you need to break up your fallow ground. Take the time to dig deep into the soil of your heart through prayer and God’s Word. Let God turn over the hardness of your heart. Allow Him to point out those things that need to be removed. Surrender to His searching Spirit to show you every hardened area of your life. And then pray until you pray through and break up that fallow ground and get your heart ready for the rain of His righteousness.
And The Preparation is just the first step. There’s more. (Continued here)