Monday, June 8, 2009

Sowing While You Reap

“Why should I fear in the days of evil,
when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about.”
Psalm 49:5

Paul was speaking from experience when he told the Galatians (6:7), “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” Paul had sown some bad seed in his youth by persecuting the saints of God. In Acts 26, when he stood before King Agrippa, he confessed that he did many things “contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” (vs. 9). He said that he locked up many of the saints in prison and that “when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them” (vs. 10). He confessed the he “punished them often in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and, being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto foreign cities” (vs. 11).

Paul reaped all the pain and suffering he inflicted on God’s people, but because of the love and the wisdom of God, his reaping of those sins was at the same time his sowing of seed for a better resurrection. Comparing himself to others who labor for the Lord, Paul said he was (2Cor. 11):

23 In labors more abundant, in prisons more frequently, in stripes more numerous, in deaths often.
24 Five times, I received forty lashes minus one at the hands of Jews;
25 three times was I beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a day and a night I have spent in the deep;
26 on frequent journeys, in dangers on rivers, in dangers of bandits, in dangers from the Jews, in dangers from the Gentiles, in dangers within cities, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers on the sea, in dangers among false brothers,
27 through toil and hardship, through frequent sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in the cold and nakedness;
28 besides the things I leave unmentioned, the daily responsibility upon me, taking care of all the congregations.

Paul reaped every ounce of pain he had inflicted on the innocent children of God before he was converted, and yet, all his reaping was transformed by the love of God into a sowing of good seed that would yield eternal life.

Job had similar thoughts. In the time of his deepest agony he cried out to God, “You are making me possess the iniquities of my youth” (Job 13:26b). In the beginning of the book of Job, we are told that Job was “perfect and upright”; a man who “feared God and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1). But Job had sown some evil seed in his youth, and he reaped it in a multiplied form. At the same time, however, he was being used in a great way to bring glory and honor to God by reaping what he had sown in his younger years.

You are going to reap the sins of your youth. Don’t be fooled. Nobody “gets by”. But if you will commit your life to Jesus, your reaping of those sins will be transformed by your heavenly father into a sowing of good seed for a better resurrection. And that is why David did not fear “the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels compass me about.” How good God is, to use even our reaping of past sins for our blessing!

If you have sown bad seed in years passed, look to Jesus. If you trust him, he will make you thankful for every time that you reap what you have sown, even if that reaping brings tears. Those kinds of tears, God keeps in a bottle (Ps. 56:8). And He will turn them all to joy “in the morning”. David explained it this way: “His anger endures but a moment; in His favor is life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5).