There is an order to the work we are to do. Some things come first while others wait until the end. Getting things ready for a task is also a task of its own importance.
Farming was a HUGE part of life in Israel. Not everyone was a farmer but everyone had land that was passed on to them as their inheritance. It might not have been large parcels, yet even the smallest house had a place for a garden.
When a couple became engaged, there were several tasks that had to be accomplished before the actual wedding took place. The groom was to prepare a place for his new family to live. The bride was to prepare her wedding dress. I believe she was also responsible to prepare the attendants. I got this impression from Jesus’ parable about the 10 virgins and the 10 lamps.
Let’s go back to the groom though, as that is where our text seems to focus today. There was an order to the tasks the groom was to prepare. I have a feeling that the order may have shifted a bit depending on what time of year the marriage was to take place.
For the home, the first task was to prepare the fields for the coming work. This would include establishing the boundaries of the couple’s property, clearing the land, and plowing it; getting it ready for the season. We are told that AFTER everything is prepared for the fields, then it is time to turn the attention to making the house. I don’t know if the home was put on hold if sowing time came before it was finished or if it was worked on at the same time. The couple could not be married until all was in place.
While thinking about this process, I was reminded of the parable Jesus taught on the different types of soil. He often referred to our hearts as a field. In the field that actually produced a crop, MUCH preparation had to be done. The boundaries needed to be marked out. We marked the boundaries of our hearts when we asked Jesus to be our Savior. The field needed to be cleared of all brush, large rocks, and any roots that would leach nutrients from the crops. In our lives, once we surrender to the hands of Jesus, He starts ‘clearing our field’. He opens our eyes to the areas of our lives that need tending to. He helps us to turn loose of the ‘rocks’ that are in the way of our future ‘crop’. The field then needs to be plowed; the hard earth broken up and good nutrients put into it. Our hearts were actually being plowed up before we even surrendered to the Lord. He knew our future LONG before we did. Actually, He would LOVE to plow up EVERY heart but only a small portion will allow it.
As the earth/heart is plowed it yields up even hidden obstacles that would hinder the crop/growth. Once the field is prepared, it’s time to build the home. This is the place where the Spirit of the Lord will reside in us and the life He will fashion from what we surrender to Him.
Daily, the Spirit molds and shapes our hearts. He lays the firm foundation with Jesus as the Cornerstone. He measures, cuts, breaks open and shuts up areas of our heart in making His home. While He is building, He brings ‘workers’ along who plant the seed God has provided. He doesn’t settle for any old seed. He looks for the BEST. THAT is the seed he plants in His new field.
The field is not ignored for the work of the house or the house sacrificed to the field. Both are worked together and in their due season. There are times when more attention is devoted to the crops and the house goes into maintenance mode. This is a season of growth. Once the crop is flourishing the house is expanded to make room for the harvest. The harvest also provides for materials to be purchased to improve the house even more.
As we grow in the word, our relationship with God grows. It develops by incorporating the things we are learning. The more we learn and build our lives to reflect Him, the more we want to grow even more. There are seasons of ‘pruning’ just as there are seasons where the remnants of the prior year’s crops have to be burned or turned under to nourish and make way for the next year’s crop.
There is an order to ALL this, in building a home and building a life. We CANNOT expect to understand the deeper things of God until we put the time into understanding the simpler concepts. Also, without preparing our hearts to receive from Him, we will be limited in what will take root. Be patient and allow God to do His perfect work in your life. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6b).
Father God, thank You for all the work You are doing in my life. I know I still have a lot that needs doing. Thank You for NOT doing it all at once. For letting me ‘adjust’ to each of the new changes before moving onto the next. Don’t let me get too complacent though and try and stay put. I want to grow to be more like Jesus every day! I trust You to complete what You started in me so many years ago.