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Isaiah and the Farmer
by Cindie York
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Isaiah 28:23-29

23. Listen to me; listen as I plead!

This verse is stated as a command. It is saying Hear what I am saying; listen to what I am telling you, Please, (urging to listen, to hear His voice).

24. Does a farmer always plow and never sow? Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting it?

First look at the farmer - a farmer plants seeds, gives care to the seeds and plants as they grow. He feeds them after they are planted. He gives the seeds what they need to become strong plants, healthy plants. He pulls off the dead leaves. He plucks up the weeds that may be trying to hinder the plants from growing. He carefully watches over the seeds and plants after they are sown. A farmer spends his time, efforts in the field to reap benefits at harvest time.

Physical aspect

Plowing - digging deep into the ground; preparing the field; getting the proper condition to plant seeds, making the ground ready for the season ahead.
Seed - what you sow
Plant -product of seed growth, fruit/vegetable, etc. end product
Sow/Plant (verb)- Act of placing seed into prepared land for the purpose of producing a crop for harvest. You are expecting a return for your efforts. You put something in to get something out. You sow to reap benefits when the time is right.

Spiritual aspect

Farmer – The minister, pastor, evangelist, teacher, disciple of Christ.
Plowing- preparation, gathering information, prayer, fasting, seeking guidance and wisdom, studying God’s word, witnessing, showing love, sanctification, forgiveness, brokenness, growing in faith, learning to listen, getting ready for the path ahead.
Seed - the word, the witness, the testimony, the message.
Plant - the individual who has received what the farmer has given, and has grown into a new creation.
Sowing/planting – The act of placing the word inside the individual.

Reread verse 24
So does a farmer always prepare the soil and never plant anything? Is he always preparing the soil, preparing to plant the seed and not actually planting the seed? What good would it do a farmer if he had a field ready to plant seed in and didn't? Why would you prepare if you didn't plan to follow through with planting the seed? At some point a farmer must decide the time is right; the season is right, the ground is prepared so seed must be sown. If he wastes too much time, the season for a particular harvest will pass. No seed; no harvest to reap.

You can't get healthy plants, vegetables, fruit without first planting the seed. Again if you plant no seed, you will have no product. Not only that, but if the farmer spends his time preparing the land and no seeds planted, he's got nothing but empty holes (voids) so to speak, empty spaces. If you don't work, you don't eat. Think about the farmer. His crops are his livelihood. That's his job. His purpose. His calling. If he doesn't do what he is supposed to do, he suffers the consequences. He has wasted his time. His preparation is in vain.

25. Does he not finally plant his seeds for dill, cumin, wheat, barley, and spelt each in its own section of land?

Different seeds/plants are exactly that - different. A farmer plants seeds according to what their need is, depending on the plant. Each seed does require different care. For one may need a large amount of water, another may require a little to flourish. Each seed needs different nourishment to grow. Some need full sun. Some need shade. Some need a little of both. Some need a lot of pruning to grow. Some require little maintenance. A farmer needs to know what each will require to thrive and grow healthily. That is part of his preparation period, learning the needs of his seeds/plants because they depend on him. It is the farmers’ responsibility to care for each. He may delegate jobs to others but only with his guidance and supervision. He may use different instruments to get the job done but it all works together for the same purpose: To reap the benefits at harvest time.

26. The farmer knows just what to do, for God has given him understanding.

How can a farmer know what to do for his seeds, his fields? He asks God for understanding and God gives it to him. God would not have made him a farmer without giving him direction and knowledge. God gives the farmer the skills to do his job effectively. God guides. God directs. God reveals the way. God wouldn't have called him to be a farmer unless He intended on him planting seeds, watching them grow, etc. Otherwise, He would have another purpose, another title, another calling.

27. He doesn't thresh all his crops the same way. A heavy sledge is never used on dill; rather, it is beaten with a light stick. A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin; instead it is beaten softly with a flail.

Again, depending on what kind of seed/plant you are dealing with will determine the care you provide. At this point in scripture, the seed has been planted and now it has flourished into the end product. Even during growth period you continue to treat each plant according to need, degree of vulnerability, weaknesses, frailties, strengths. Some plants are more resilient, some require a softer touch and more delicate care.

28. Bread grain is easily crushed, so he doesn't keep on pounding it. He threshes it under the wheels of a cart, but he doesn't pulverize it.

Again, as previous scripture indicates, depending on what you are dealing with, will determine the proper care in which you give.

29. The Lord Almighty is a wonderful teacher, and he gives the farmer great wisdom.

The Lord provides wisdom for the farmer to do his job and do it well. No better teacher has ever been or will ever be than that of our Lord Almighty. The farmer learns through actually getting into the field, actually planting seed, actually caring for plants, actually reaping the product at harvest. You can't get from point A to point D without B and C. You can't expect to have a plant without sowing/planting a seed so to speak. One cannot happen without the other. God is the one ultimately in control. God provides the wisdom through teaching. God oversees every effort, every work. God gives the skills needed for each task. God opens the doors.

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