Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, February 5, 2016
This Week’s Devotional Focus is, “The Second Coming of Jesus Christ.”
“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto 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 that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” (Revelation 14:14–16).
If one is not familiar with an agricultural society, the symbolism of our theme text may not be familiar either. Unfortunately, so many people believe vegetables come from cans and have no idea what sowing and reaping really means. I want to color this illustration this way: When a dedicated farmer selects ground, prepares the growing media, chooses workers, selects particular seeds/crops, creates a plan for crop rotation, observes climate/elevation, evaluates the effects of local pests, determines which other green life should accompany the planting of the actual crops, etc., that farmer has one outcome in mind—plentiful harvest. That’s it! A farmer who is not concerned with a bountiful harvest is no farmer at all. Our God is using agricultural examples to let us know one primary thing—He is doing all within His supernatural power, and within the constraints of love and volition to provide the best opportunity for the harvest of human souls to be bountiful! Are you getting the picture here? It was not until I moved into a rural setting from the urban jungles I once lived, that I really got the picture. A lot goes into sowing and reaping.
The setting of the scene in our text is the Second Coming of Christ. At the most appropriate time, Jesus will come. And when He comes, He will reap those of us that have been planted in fertile soil, been cultivated through obedience under trial, received the special rains from heaven, matured through His Spirit, and are ripened unto perfection. Notice that I said Jesus will come at the appropriate time. A good farmer never reaps too early or too late. At the time when there can be the most increase possible, the farmer will harvest the crops.
Some may wonder why Jesus is taking so long to come. Sometimes I wonder too. But I am then reminded that Jesus is the wisest Farmer who has ever lived. Only He knows exactly when the most that can be harvested are ready. The Bible says it this way: “The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,” (2 Peter 3:9–15, RSV). What’s taking Jesus so long? He is waiting for you and for me to become mature for the harvest.
God cannot wait forever though. As in the case of good farmers, our God knows that pests, weeds, disease, rotting, etc. will eventually destroy the harvest. Therefore, He will harvest just at the right time before that happens.
Are you willing to be harvested from the earth, friends? I sure hope so. There is absolutely no need to become rotting crops that are unfit for harvest. We need not be trampled and destroyed. Cooperate with your divine Farmer. Let Him cultivate your life and bring you to holy maturity