February 10 I Sunday
“What fault did your ancestors find in Me, that they strayed so far from Me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.” —Jeremiah 2:5
Even the worst gardeners know that to grow a plant, you have to plant a seed in the ground. Water it, care for it, nurture it, and not only will it grow into a strong and healthy plant, but that plant will generate future seeds. There is a generational impact of seeds sown into each individual seed, and not one of them will grow into something unexpected. If we plant a sugar snap pea seed, the grown-up plant will not produce tomatoes.
There is a cause and effect relationship to gardening; you reap what you sow.
Israel’s history reveals that this is also true spiritually. When God made His covenant with Israel, He set them apart. Part of the reason He gave Israel the Law was so that in obeying it, the surrounding nations would see a difference in the Israelites. Israel was to be a curious community that did not practice idolatry and that reflected God’s character. The fruit of Israel’s obedience to the Law was supposed to be that other nations would be blessed and drawn to obey the God of Israel for themselves.
Israel, however, was more concerned with being like the other nations. Though God was their King, the Israelites wanted a physical ruler who would go before them and fight their battles (1 Samuel 8:20). With few exceptions, each successive king led Israel into deeper levels of disobedience and idolatry. God sent prophets like Jeremiah to get His people back on track, but they would not listen. As years became centuries, Israel strayed so far from God’s intent that they became hardly recognizable as the people of God. They had become no different than the nations around them. Idolatrous Israel worshipped worthless idols, and the consequence was God gave them over into exile in Babylon, the epicentre of idolatry in their day.
What consumes our focus defines how we live. When we set our heart on something not aligned with God—such as idolatry, immorality or injustice—that is what we pursue, and eventually, God may give us over to the very thing we have set our heart on. We cannot sow disobedience and expect fruits of obedience. “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:8). We reap what we sow. If we live according to the sinful nature, it will only end in destruction. But when we give our lives to Christ and live according to the Spirit’s desires, we will reap the fruit of His Spirit and eternal life.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I know that You are the great Gardener. Grow me according to Your Spirit so that Your fruit is produced in me.