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Daughter of the King - born from above in 1989.

Deborah grew up in a military family and moved to Florida in the early 1970's.  She began her journey of creative writing soon after coming to know Jesus as her personal Savior. Her primary goal is to share her personal testimony with others while bringing hope and practical help through her writing.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lord of the Harvest

In agriculture, the harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper. The harvest marks the end of the growing season, or the growing cycle for a particular crop.

Genesis 8:22 ends with a promise by God that He will never destroy every living thing again; “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and winter and summer, and day and night, shall not cease.”

The end of the summer ushers in the beginning of fall, a time marked by crops and their harvest. For the Hebrew people, as for those in any agricultural district today, the harvest was a most important season.  The three principal feasts of the Jews corresponded to the three harvest seasons (Ex 23:16; 34:21,22); (1) the feast of the Passover in April at the time of the barley harvest; (2) the feast of Pentecost (7 weeks later) at the wheat harvest; and (3) the feast of Tabernacles at the end of the year (October) during the fruit harvest. Many concise laws were instituted regarding the harvest. Gleaning was forbidden (Lev 19:9; Deut 24:19). The first-fruits were required to be presented to Yahweh (Lev 23:10).

In Israel, the harvest festival is celebrated in the form of the Succoth. Succoth has historical roots which date back to the time when the Hebrews traveled to Israel (Canaan) and set up living booths along the way. A booth was known as a succah and people ate and worshiped in this space.  Farmers also lived in them at harvest time and gave thanks for the harvest. Today, the Succoth festival lasts for seven days, in September/October, and it is still traditional to build a shelter where families gather to give thanks, share meals and live together for the time of the Succoth festival. A simple succah is built from tree branches, flowers and fruits and decorated with gold and blue material, leaving one side open. The Succoth is also known as the Jewish Harvest Festival.

In the book of Ruth we read in Chapter 2, verses 8-9, “Then Boaz said to Ruth, You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.” God’s perfect timing had Ruth in the barley fields of Boaz for the harvest. The likelihood of him coming back from Bethlehem at that precise moment was nothing other than God’s Sovereignty, setting in motion the redeeming of Ruth by Boaz as her near kinsman. Boaz married Ruth, and their son Obed became King David’s grandfather.

In the New Testament, Jesus relates the harvest to the multitudes that He taught, and healed, and ministered to. He was moved with compassion for them, equating them to sheep without a shepherd. In Matthew 9:37-38 He said to his disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

In John 4:35 He says, “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”

Jesus also spoke of the harvest in a different way as He shared the parable of the wheat and the tares. He told the crowd gathered around Him that in the parable, while the man who sowed good seed into his field was sleeping, the enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and left. Then, when the servants told the owner about the wheat and tares growing together, and whether they should gather them up, the owner said, “No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest, I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

Finally, in Revelation 14:14-15 John tells us, “And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’”

Lord Jesus, harvest our hearts for Your work in the fields of a lost world.

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