Drive out of my Indiana town in any direction and, before it is out of sight in your rear view mirror, you immediately encounter farmland stretching out before you. With this sunny spring, every field seems to be filled with rows of tiny seedlings.
Undoubtedly, the farmer who planted them recognizes the small plants on his land for he knows what seeds he planted. Where corn was planted, corn is growing. The same is true in the other fields, be it beans or watermelons. Each plant joins the others to tell the same story. You reap what you sow. You can see this principle in every field, in each direction, every year, in each season.
If only we could see it spiritually. If only instead of driving by those fields unfazed, each plant had a tongue to cry out the lesson so many need to hear.
It is not as if the Bible does not tell us this. Like the endless number of plants in those farmer’s rows, again and again each verse and each scene of Scripture line up to tell the same story. Sow good seeds, and you will reap good fruit. Do the opposite, and you know what to expect.
- “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8)
- “For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7a).
- “Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD until He comes to rain righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12)
Yet we seem never to learn. Again and again we see people scatter anger and expect kindness to be returned; plant and nurture bitterness then act surprised when they have no friends; borrow money endlessly then wake up one day bankrupt; dig in the “dirt” of immorality by sowing to the flesh then wonder why God is so distant.
The stories of the Bible are especially written to help us to see the sowing/reaping principle. Jacob’s story certainly is. What’s the story line? On the day of his older brother’s blessing he exalts himself over Esau by using his brother’s clothes and hairiness to deceive his old, blind father into giving him the blessing instead. Seed sown. What grows from such illicitly sown seed? On the day of his wedding – on his wedding day! – his uncle turned conniving father-in-law Laban exalts his older daughter over Jacob’s true love Rachel by using a veil to deceive him into marrying Leah instead. Fruit reaped. As the New Geneva Study Bible comments on his first sighting of Rachel (you can almost hear the ominous music in the background), “Jacob experienced the blessing of divine providence in meeting Rachel, and in a bitter irony the deceiver became the deceived.” The sower always becomes the reaper.
Perhaps you have happened upon these words just as you are once again tasting the awful, bitter fruits you have planted. Take heart, friend, for the story above is not all told. Jacob the deceiver finally wearied of being Jacob the deceived. And it just so happened that at that very time he was attacked. Someone came and wrestled him down into the dirt where seeds are sown. Who was his adversary? At first he did not know, for it was night and he could not see (cannot forget that story line!). Jacob was born holding his brother’s heel and thus was named “one who supplants.” As the record shows he was named fittingly, for his nature was one of tripping up another by the heel to get what he wanted. That fateful night he had his own thigh wrenched out of joint, so that even in the dark he could finally see.
That night Jacob finally realized that all his life he had not been fighting against father or brother or uncle. No, his adversary all this time was the God of providence Himself, the Principle Principal. So Jacob desperately clung to the One who had been veiled to him, exhausted not only after a night but a lifetime of wrestling. With gasping breath asking for a blessing, his fight to deny the unwavering principle was over. And it was then he learned just how unwavering it truly is.
Jacob finally saw that the blessed life can be reaped through one and only one means. Blessings only come from God Himself through a faith planted by Him and in Him. Like him, you and I need to learn that God is also a sower and – principle still intact – also a reaper. In just the right season he took one precious Seed – the Seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – and planted it. In only three days time it sprouted and grew to be the Vine bearing the only fruit really worth tasting.
Has this kingdom seed been sown and taken root in your own heart? How do you know? That question is answered by yet another. Whose fruit do you see in your life – yours or His?