Fruit Trees in the New Land

One of my favorite things about the Bible is that it is so RICH!!  No, this is not about prosperity preaching but rather the wealth found in the Word of God.  One can be a disciple of Christ for years and have read a verse a dozen times and each time the Holy Spirit reveals something new.  A rhema word.  A fresh revelation.  A deeper understanding.  The author of Romans said it best, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33 NIV) One of my 2010 goals is to read the Bible through in a year.  My pastor, Gregg Matte, has said that Leviticus is the graveyard for many “read the Bible through in a year” plans.  Well, this is exactly where I am right now in my reading, Leviticus – the book of the Law.  However, this morning, the Word almost jumped off the page at me.  It was one of those rhema moments!!

Nestled between the law on having sex with a slave and to not interpret omens are these three verses:

red delicious spartan apple container bins harvestWhen you come into the land and plant any kind of tree for food, then you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden to you; it must not be eaten.  And in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD. But in the fifth year you may eat of its fruit, to increase its yield for you: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:23-25 ESV)

During the first three years of living in the new land, the Israelites had to plant the seed, tend the sow, pull weeds, pray for rain, pray for sunshine and then at the harvest time, I guess, they threw the fruit away.  In the fourth year, same amount of work but now instead of throwing it away it is given to the Lord as a praise offering.  Then finally, the fifth year comes and they are able to reap what they have sown.

How does this apply to me today as I sit in the middle of the 4th largest city in the US and don’t even have a yard let alone a garden to tend?  Spiritually, there is ground that my forefathers and I have surrendered to the enemy.  As I walk out the statues of God in love for Him, I am gaining back this ground.  I am coming into new lands.  There is great celebration in the victory but for me to have FULL ownership of the land, to no longer be under guardians (see Galatians 4:1-4), there is work to be done.  And this work is hard and long.

I am willing to do the work to gain that full ownership.  Willing to wait a long time between sacrifice and blessings.  I don’t just want to be a squatter on the Promised Land the Lord has granted me but I want full ownership.  The full inheritance!!

How about you?  First, are you even seeking to take back surrendered ground?  To enter into the Promised Land?  Secondly, Have you gained some ground but grown lazy in the labor?  Have a hoe but are just too tired to deal with the weeds?  Finally, are you willing to wait for the fullness of time?  A mark of spiritual maturity is how long you can wait between obedience and reward!

Oh the depths of the riches of God's Word!!  I don't understand the law two verses later that says " do not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard" but I do know that God has a reason for it and in the fullness of time I will know.  However, in the meantime, may I tend my lands well!