The Negev desert makes up much of the southern part of Israel. It contains mountains, canyons, and wadis. The average rainfall in the Negev is less than four inches per year. When rain does fall in the desert, the soil struggles to absorb the water. In spite of its climate, large areas of what had been wilderness have been successfully cultivated.
God cares about us. After the flood Noah built an altar to the Lord. God said in his heart, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” (Genesis 8:22) Our God, and the seasons of our lives remain steady. God is faithful. He can make things grow.
But there are times upon earth when people have seen a modest harvest. We do well to remember the words of the prophet, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18) God is worthy of praise, no matter the weather or the condition of our crops. We are to be faithful in response.
Proverbs 3:9 exhorts God’s people, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of your crops.” As God’s ancient people gave sacrifices of their harvest to the Lord, we’re to be sacrificing as well. “…offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1) J. Oswald Sanders observes that the word, “offer” is a one-time act that is complete, but it is followed by thirty six present tense verbs, denoting continuous action. We read in the eleventh verse, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11) Our ministry to people is a service to God. We should remain steady and faithful to the one who is faithful to us. We must never stop.
Just as our world goes through seasons, and times of want, our lives do as well. We’re to remain fruitful, knowing God walks besides us each day. Jesus said, “‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.’” (John 15:5) To remain (abide) in Christ calls for us to read His word daily and to pray continuously. While the temperature display in my car is different daily, the truth of God’s word never changes. Circumstances do not alter God’s truth. A central truth for us to hear as we read and pray each day is that God loves us. “We love because he first loved us.” (I John 4:19)
God is faithful in His love for all of us. “…neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) We receive countless blessings from the one who loves us. His love keeps us moving forward. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17) He’s our unchanging Father. He’s faithful. Let’s be faithful to Him!
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.