Crystal Writes A Blog

A Place to Read What "Crystal-Writes"

A Harvest of Joy


David and Crystal's Harvest of Joy--1st Garden, Summer 2014, Dutch Street, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

David and Crystal’s Harvest of Joy–1st Garden, Summer 2014, Dutch Street, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

When I was a child, I helped my grandparents with a few garden plants, but the only one I grew on my own was the peanut plant inside the house. It wasn’t until this year, my fiftieth year of life, that I actually knew the joy of harvesting food from my own garden. I’ve been excited to share it with others, too. Somehow, I get this feeling from growing my food from a seed or small plant that feels like God grew a treasure just for me. And then I look at the seeds and how these wonderful foods provide what we need to regrow them right there inside. The whole thing has really amazed me. It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but the zucchini grew so huge that I cut one in big slices and had a friend grill the slices. Then, I put a slice on a hamburger bun and added all the usual condiments and toppings. I was surprised at how much it tasted like a grilled hamburger.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 26:1 through Deuteronomy 26:11, we begin a new week and a new portion. Parashah 50 is called Ki Tavo in Hebrew and means “When You Come” in English. Moses talks all about the harvests in the new land of Israel’s inheritance, and he tells them what to do with the first fruits of their harvests. Moses tells the Israelites to put their first fruits in a basket and go to the place God has instructed to keep His name (the temple). They will present their basket to the priest who will place it before the altar of God.

After the basket is sitting at the altar, the presenter will recite the history of his ancestors as they came to Egypt few in number and left as a great nation. He will tell about their slavery and how God delivered them with strength and with signs and wonders. He will then lift up a praise that talks of how God has brought them to this new land as he speaks of that being the reason he is able to bring the first fruits of his harvest to the priest and to God. As he places his basket before God, he will bow down on his face and take joy in his harvest. Here’s how verses 10 & 11 read in the New Living Testament…

And now, O Lord, I have brought you the first portion of the harvest you have given me from the ground.’ Then place the produce before the Lord your God, and bow to the ground in worship before him. Afterward you may go and celebrate because of all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household. Remember to include the Levites and the foreigners living among you in the celebration.

The Complete Jewish Bible uses “take joy” where the NLT says “go and celebrate,” but both are true. And I love that God has passed along to His people that He wants them to take joy and celebrate the bounty that He has given them. Part of the celebration includes sharing with the priest, sharing with neighbors, and enjoying some of first fruits themselves. God was generous with Israel every step of the way, and He is generous with us each step of the way as well.

While we can bring first fruits to our church representatives now, in the form of tithe, we have another harvest that will bring us even more joy. I don’t know about you, but I never got to share and partake of my tithe, so this harvest is the one that I can see true joy within. Yeshua told the disciples that the fields were white and ripe for harvest, but there were not enough disciples to work the fields. Those ripe fields are still with us, and we are the disciples who are needed for the harvest now. It may seem hard at times to just speak out about God, but if you remember the power of your own testimony of salvation, you can tell it to others and use it to draw them in. When they come in, you will reap a harvest of joy, and you will celebrate.

In the meantime, here’s another old favorite song about that harvest of joy from God’s perspective. The song is originally by Lanny Wolfe, and it is called My House is Full… (Plus, this one has beautiful images behind it)…

August 30, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Shall Reap What You DON’T Sow


Early Harvest by Flickr User Ian Sane, CC License = Attribution

Early Harvest by Flickr User Ian Sane, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

How many times have you gotten what you deserved? And how many times have you not gotten what you deserved? In the second question, that could mean not getting bad if you earned it with an evil deed, or not getting good you felt was coming to you. In all truth, this world is not fair. Innocent become victims, and criminals seem to get away with terrible acts. But in God’s economy, grace pays the way for many of us to reap benefits we have neither earned nor deserved. He paid the price for evil, so we could reap the same pay as if we had lived our lives sowing nothing but good.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 25:1 through Leviticus 25:13, we begin a new portion. Parashah 32 is titled B’har which means “On Mount.” In today’s part of the portion, God instructs Israel in giving their fields a sabbath rest. Every seventh year, He tells them not to plant anything, and He tells them not to harvest anything. Everything in the field is still available for their food, so they can gather it for meals, but they are not to fully harvest it.

After seven of these resting times in the fields, that is after 49 years, the fiftieth year is considered a year of jubilee, and it is another year of complete rest for the field. The year of jubilee is a year when everything and everyone is to celebrate freedom, and every person and animal will eat from whatever crops continue to grow in the untended fields and vineyards. The year begins with a blast of the shofar on Yom Kippur of that fiftieth year.

It’s not late enough in the year yet for me to tell what my untended garden will yield, but last year–our first year in our new home, we grew lots of tiny tomatoes that we didn’t plant. I called the old owner to ask if she planted them, and she said she did not. She informed us they were called “volunteer tomatoes,” and told us how blessed we were to have them come up on their own.

We read in the words of Messiah Yeshua that instead of worrying about our provisions, we should rest in Our Creator, Yahveh, and trust that He has it all in His hands. Luke 12:27-28 (NLT) puts it this way…

27 “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

In God’s economy of grace and mercy, we are promised provision by His hand, and we are promised a prize in His kingdom just by letting go of our sin and trusting Him to guide and direct our lives. No other boss tells us that all we have to do is commit our loyalty to the company, and we’ll receive a paycheck, but God gives us a paycheck that He Himself earned simply because He loves us and wants to share eternity with us. We can praise Him for our wonderful provisions on this earth, but we can rejoice even more greatly in the provisions He has prepared for us where we will reap that we could never do enough good works to earn.

I have a favorite old song by Joel Hemphill called Consider The Lilies. This one is performed by Charlotte Richie with backup by singers from The Isaacs and The Martins. Enjoy!

April 26, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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