Saturday, September 1, 2012

SPRING (Seedtime)

The Bible speaks of seasons in its grand opening chapter, ‘Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years”’ Genesis 1:14. The season of ‘seedtime’ or spring is specifically alluded to a little later, ‘While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease’ Genesis 8:22. This was God’s covenant promise after He had broken up all the fountains of the great deep and had opened the windows of heaven to destroy the earth in the global flood on account of our wickedness. The rainbow is the sign of His promise never to do this again. It is interesting to note that the earth had also been covered with water in the beginning. It was on the third day that God caused the dry land to arise, after which, ‘Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so’ Genesis 1:11. Resurrection foreshadowed?
The earth needs to be watered for the seedtime seed to flourish,He waters the hills from His upper chambers; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works. He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the service of man, that he may bring forth food from the earth’ Psalm 104:13-14. Man depends upon God and His grace to send earth-watering rain in its season.
While in Hawaii one of the locals was saying that God was still forming the islands. The molten lava from volcanic eruptions under the sea was forming solid land even as he spoke. The richness of Hawaiian flora is something to write home about! Their pineapples are delicious! A very apt verse for Hawaii is, ‘As for the earth, from it comes bread, but underneath it is turned up as by fire’ Job 28:5.
Manitoban farmers depend on melting winter snows to moisten their seedtime soil. The size of their crops is affected by the volume of winter snow. The LORD Himself makes the connection between seed and His Word, ‘For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it’ Isaiah 55:10-11. It is exactly as the LORD says, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ Matthew 4:4. His Word is the true seed. ‘The sower sows the word’ Mark 4:14. ‘Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies’ 1 Corinthians 15:36.
Christ is the Word, the Seed of the Woman (John 1:1; Genesis 3:15). He was washed with water at His baptism (Matthew 3:15) and was planted in the ground after His death (Mark 15:46). He rose on the third day (Luke 24:7). Seed, water, death, soil, and then germination. Note the connection between the seed germinating on the dry land that rose on the third day of creation and the Word/Seed rising on the third day. He is the beginning of the (re)new(ed) creation. He is the firstfruits of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:23). When the sower sows the Word, the Spirit works with the Word and regenerates those in whom His Word has been sown. These go on to bear fruit as the Spirit enables (John 15:5; Galatians 5:22-23). Seedtime and Harvest!
Scripture defines us as already dead (Ephesians 2:1). We move from death to life when the Holy Spirit works effectively with His Word/Seed in our hearts (1 John 3:14). The picture is: The sower sows the Word. The Word lodges (and germinates) in the dead sinner’s heart enabling him/her to believe. The Holy Spirit (who, like rain, has been poured out from Heaven) causes the Seed to grow. ‘According to His mercy He has saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour’ Titus 3:5-6.
Covenant Baptism depicts spring or seedtime (rains included!) In it is depicted God’s covenant promise to His church, (i.e., the believers for whom Christ gave His life), ‘that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word’ Ephesians 5:26. Baptism with water depicts God’s promise to regenerate the recipients in whom His Word/Seed lodges. The water sprinkled or poured out upon the recipient pictures Christ’s poured out blood being applied by His poured out Spirit. ‘The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin’ 1 John 1:7b.
Spring is seedtime. And whether it is a farmer sowing seed or a preacher sowing the Word, both illustrate that God alone gives life.

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