Isaiah 10:5-12:6, 28:1-29
Remember that the people to whom Isaiah was writing these word pictures were not looking forward to Christ’s second coming. They were looking forward to the physical birth of Jesus, the babe in Bethlehem. It’s true that the material birth and the spiritual second coming have parallels. But we are wrong if we think Isaiah skipped over Jesus’ coming in the flesh and jumped right into 2013 America.
From the beginning of time God has used hardship and trials to draw people to himself. When the nation of Israel was blessed for their obedience, the surrounding nations noticed. The surrounding nations also noticed when Israel was punished for disobedience.
God wants us to know he has a reason for everything that happens. And his reason is the salvation of souls. Whether it’s war in ancient Israel, or the battle in our own souls, God wants to reach the lost and he will do whatever it takes.
Isaiah 28:23ff uses the word picture of a farmer. He needs to work the soil, break up the clumps, level the surface. But there wouldn’t be a crop if he just continued to plow. The farmer stops plowing and sows seed. But he doesn’t just keep throwing seeds on the ground. Eventually he stops sowing and allows the plants to grow.
Then comes the reaping. When the reaping is complete, comes the threshing, the grinding, the beating to prepare the crop to be used to it’s fullest. It’s only after all of this that the crop can be kneaded into loaves and baked for bread or boiled to make tasty stew.
God is telling us that he will plow, he’ll sow seed, he’ll reap and thresh, he’ll put us over a fire until we are that finished work. It’s not always comfortable to be a crop. But our Farmer will do what it takes to produce people he can use to feed people who hunger for him.
Are you experiencing some reaping? Some threshing? Are you in hot water? Remember that God is shaping you into something beautiful. Trust him with the process.