Monday, February 27, 2012

The Growing Seed, Fallow Ground, Sheep, Milk

We were reading Proverbs 27 this morning and the following section really spoke to me.

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.
For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?
The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.
The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.
And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens. Proverbs 27:23-27

At first one could think about it as a kind of verse about accounting and good stewardship. And I guess I could see how it might be speaking about my books and my fabric designs (seeds sown) fields (where I sowed or marketed them) and when the money starts trickling then flowing in. But the more I thought of it, the more it seemed to me that the passage can also be about the process of how we deal with the riches of God's word that is sowed in the fallow or fertile fields of our hearts.

So many times we hear Bible verses preached to us by those who - it seems, anyway-- have just heard a word but who have not really digested it. Consider ministers who talk about why folks are or aren't healed -- yet those ministers have never healed anyone. Or folks who talk about the power of the word -- yet they don't have the full flower of the sowed word in their lives.

So many things in the Bible is about "growing" ....and endurance and patience is often about growing. 
So for now this verse is meaning this to me: we hear the word of God as a seed. But we can't eat the seed immediately. We eat seeds and the seeds grow silently as we digest the word and soon becomes a seed. Then the tender grass will grow in our lives (which might take a while.) Then after we fully have digested the word and broken up our fallow field. Then we can feed the sheep the "tender grass" and the sheep can grow from what we have learned slowly and deeply. And after that they give milk to us. Interesting that loop. We give to the sheep and they give to us. So we don't take spiritual seed primarily for ourselves. There is always giving seed and milk to each other. Until we all get stronger in using and understanding the word of God. 

It connects to the following verses.

An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end. Proverbs 20:21

He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Matthew 13:31

He said, "The Kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed on the earth, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he doesn't know how. For the earth bears fruit: first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the fruit is ripe, immediately he puts forth the sickle, because the harvest has come."
— Mark 4:26-29

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