By John J. Blanchard
December 22, 2002
Just what is the purpose of the earth? What are we doing on this planet? Why are we here? Does God have something special in mind for both the earth and mankind who dwells upon it?
Let us turn to the beginning of the Bible today. We are going to look at the very first scriptures in God’s word. Genesis 1, verse 1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light…’” These are some of the most famous scriptures in the entire Bible, yet few have stopped to dwell on just what these scriptures show us here. There is much revealed right here!
When God’s Spirit hovered over the waters and was moving over the darkness, what was it that He was hovering over? It was waste. It says here in the scripture that the earth was without form and void. What does it mean: without form and void? The earth has always been round. The earth has always had form. So what does God mean?
Those two words are “tohu” and “bohu” in the Hebrew, which mean “waste, desolation of the surface, a desert, a worthless thing, an indistinguishable ruin.” Therefore God is telling us that when He moved over the waters, He found that the earth was a wreck! It was ruined. It was desolate. So the waters were waste waters. There was nothing productive going on on the planet!
That being said and God moves over the waters and says let there be light, what does this mean? This shows us something. God moved over the surface of something that existed prior to the first day of creation. If we want to call creation week the days of creation and God is moving over something that is already there, obviously it had been created some time before that. How long? We know because of science that that earth had to have been there at least thirteen to fifteen billions years before that moment! Science has proven that the earth and the universe are at least thirteen to fifteen billion years old.
Having said that, we know that creation week, the story of Adam and Eve that we are all so familiar with, occurred approximately six thousand years ago. This has set up a lot of arguing between science and religion, between science and theologians. People have looked at the Bible and taken it literally and said the earth is six thousand years old. Science says you can keep your Bible and we do not believe in it because we can see the earth is not six thousand years old. It is more like billions of years.
The two sides take up adamant positions, never realizing scripture reveals that they are not at odds with one another. They just do not understand God’s word. If we understand God’s word, we can see that God’s word is the truth. It never lies. It never makes a mistake. Because it never lies and never makes a mistake, we need to always view science whenever it proves something as fact as something that must be understood in the light of the Bible. When we look at information, look at it through the prism of the Bible, and make sure man’s information fits with God’s. God’s is always right.
This is what we can determine here just from the first three verses. We know there is a huge gap of time between verse 1 in Genesis 1 and verse 3. Probably there is about thirteen to fifteen billion years.
What else can we learn here? We understand from reading God’s word, that God’s Spirit hovered over the waters and the waters were a ruination, a total desolation of the surface of the earth! God said I want to bring light. What was He doing? He was fixing something that had been ruined.
In order to get ruined it must have been better at some point before that. So before the earth was ruined, it must have been created in a good state. God is not going to create junk. When God created the earth and the universe, it must have been a thing of beauty to behold. Some how the earth and the universe became a ruin. We understand, and we are not going to go into that today, that Satan is the god of this world. You can see that in Ephesians 6 but that is another subject. That is the source of the problem.
Shortly after the creation of Adam and Eve, Satan got in there and brought his sin, his darkness back into mankind. God had given them light. Satan put the light out and brought darkness once again. This is the story of Genesis. God bringing light and Satan trying to put it out, as he had already done once before. We will cover that in detail at a later date, but right now our focus is on what the earth is here for?
What is God using the earth to accomplish? I want to drive home the point that God had to renew the face of the earth before He could start using it properly. We are going to prove that in greater detail by turning to Psalm 104. Please turn to Psalm 104. Get your Bible out. Prove these things by the Bible. The Bible is the only lens to look at information through, and we must let the Bible interpret itself. We learned that in lesson 1, and we will try to apply those principles always. Let the Bible interpret itself as only God can reveal His thinking to us.
Psalm 104, starting in verse 1: “Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.” You can almost imagine the big bang where the curtain was unfurled and there was the universe! There was the earth! Everything in proportion. Everything set apart to make life exist: the sun the correct distance from the earth and everything held and sustained to eventually have life. What does it say here of Himself? He was clothed with light. What?
God has always been the source of truth. We learned earlier God is truth. His word is truth. In John 1:1 Jesus Christ is the Word that brought light to the earth. So He was the one in Genesis 1, verse 1 saying let Us put this light there on the earth and move the darkness aside. Let Us bring the truth to the earth and use this planet for good and for Our own purposes, which is what God is doing.
Drop down to verse 5 of Psalm 104: “You have laid the foundations of the earth, so that it should not be moved forever, You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.” Once again showing us the waters that were darkness, the waste waters that covered the earth, God by His light and truth can push aside! He can drive them away.
Let us just pause here for a moment and get an understanding. God’s Spirit is often portrayed as water. Satan’s spirit, his mind power that influences mankind to do evil, is waste water. Satan is the prince of the power of the air who influences mankind to do all kinds of crazy, foolish and evil things. It is a sad state of affairs that we are in, but those are the things that Satan is responsible for. He drives mankind away from God and darkens the surface of the earth. God is doing just the opposite. He brings light. He brings truth. He pushes aside these waters that cover the earth. It is amazing to understand that.
There is much more in Genesis than we ever dreamt. We just have to let God reveal His thinking to us. Now we want to discover what God is going to do with this earth. Let us continue here for a moment in Psalm 104. Drop down to verse 24: “O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions. This great and wide sea, in which are innumerable teeming things, living things both small and great. There the ships sail about; there is that Leviathan which you have made to play there. These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season. What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good. You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth.”
How much is there for us to see? Everything that lives, its life cycle on the earth, dies. Everything living and breathing on the planet requires God’s sustenance! He provides the breath. He provides the sun that grows the plants that feed the animals that feed man. It is His sustaining power that makes this earth a viable physical object, and it is by His Holy Spirit that He can renew the surface of the earth. This is exactly what He did in Genesis 1:1-3. He renewed the face of the earth.
When we look at the earth and we say it was without form and void, actually what we are saying is wherever the world was waste and nonproductive it was null and void. That thwarts God’s purposes for mankind. Whenever we do not use the earth to grow, it is a waste. God views it as such, a waste land.
God’s purpose in Genesis He said is to be creating mankind in His image and His likeness. Why? Because God wants to share things with mankind that are awesome and wonderful. We mentioned in our first lesson in Isaiah 9:6-7, we found that God sent us His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is that head of the government that is so perfect and so beautiful and that government will bring peace to the earth. It will extend out into the universe forever!
This is what God wants to bring mankind into. He wants mankind to be created in His very image and His likeness. Therefore, the earth has two purposes. The first is a short term purpose and that is a physical earth is needed to sustain life. The physical earth is used by God in the short term to sustain human life. The long term goal of the earth is God ultimately is using it for spiritual purposes. He is offering mankind eternal life. First man must be given physical existence and once he has been given physical existence he can go on. He can go on if he follows God’s plan and His rule, he can go on to eternal life! What an awesome thing to understand. Once he has eternal life and gets underneath this perfect government of Jesus Christ, mankind can be productive citizens of the universe forever!
If you recall, we looked at Titus 1:1 the last time. I would like to do that again today. Let us just go back to Titus 1:1 and read that for a moment. Let us regrasp in our minds just how awesome the plan of God is and how long ago He was working on it. Titus 1, verse 1: “Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began…”
God, who cannot lie, promised before time began (more than thirteen to fifteen billion years ago) that mankind would have an opportunity to have eternal life. God will not go back on that promise because He never lies! That is the ultimate purpose of the earth. It is to give mankind the physiochemical existence he needs to first accept that he will have to repent and accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and gain eternal life. What a marvelous plan! This plan has been worked on by God for one long period of time!
Since eternal life is the ultimate goal for mankind by God, that is the result of the earth being used for God’s plan. That changes how we view the earth. We cannot just view the earth as a globe out there in space with six or seven billion people running around on it like ants with no purpose other than to live as long a life they can and die, returning to dust. If that is all there is and there is no further promise life is a waste. God does not create waste. It is Satan, as you recall, who makes the earth a waste.
This earth is going to prove to be very productive, as we saw in Isaiah 9. As a matter of fact, let us go back and read Isaiah 9 just so we can refamiliarize in our minds this beautiful thought of God. Isaiah chapter 9, starting in verse 6: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
God is zealous to fulfill His promised plan. He is zealous and He wants mankind, every person who has ever walked this earth, to be there. It is up to us to want it. There is only one thing God cannot create and that is character. The one thing God cannot create He needs us to help Him with. He does that by giving us the gift of free will.
We can choose to do good or we can choose to do evil. When we choose good, we are building character and we are bearing fruit for God. When we choose to do evil or we are selfish, we are choosing to deny God fruit. We are actually making the earth go dark in the space that we inhabit. That is the way to think about it.
The space that we inhabit upon this earth, if it is nonproductive, is viewed as darkness. We can be a point of light or we can be dark. It is up to us. It is our free will to choose to follow God, to learn of His ways and to bear fruit.
Now we are getting close to what the purpose of the earth is. Before we reveal that purpose, let us look at Romans 1, verse 20. Romans 1:20 tells us something about creation, something about the universe that is very important for us to ingrain in our minds so we can properly view creation and understand the meaning of why it is here. Romans 1, verse 20: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…”
If we do not look at the universe, at creation, at the earth with the idea of learning about God and learning about creation, we are being wasteful of our opportunity in this life to grow in holy righteous character. We do not want to waste this opportunity. We can gain every advantage during our lives by studying God’s word, allowing Him to work in our minds and teaching us His thoughts. We can then properly bear fruit. This is why we are here!
God teaches us through two things: His word, the Bible, and creation. We cannot just view creation without the Bible and get it right. There are all kinds of people out there worshipping the creation and not the Creator. We have to understand that. We are not here to worship the creation but to worship the Creator. However, as we just read, if we view creation properly through the lens and through the prism of the Bible, then we are looking at it through God’s perspective. That is what is so important. View the earth the way God views it.
From way out there in outer space where God’s throne is, when He looks on the earth, what does He view it as? What does He think of it as? That is where we come to the purpose of today’s lessons.
He views this earth as his spiritual garden. The earth is God’s spiritual garden. If you want to title this lesson, that would be a good title: “The Earth Is God’s Spiritual Garden”. He does not want tohu and bohu. He does not want it without form and void. He does not want it to be wasteland. He wants it to be wonderfully productive for eternal purposes. He needs us to cooperate for it is through us that He is being productive. We are going to see that without a doubt as we progress through this lesson.
Let us start in Jeremiah chapter 4. We are going to start viewing the earth as God’s garden. First we will see what it is God does not want. Jeremiah chapter 4, starting in verse 22: “’For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.’ I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; and the heavens, they had no light.”
God is saying people are foolish when they have no understanding of Me. When they do not know what I want and they do not try to do good, when they seem to just do evil and be selfish and self-centered, they cannot get what I am trying to teach them. They are following Satan and his dictates. They are being moved and motivated and influenced by Satan. That is the source of darkness. God is countering that with light, with truth. He wants that to motivate us to do good and learn of Him. He wants us to partake of His plan. He wants us to be active participants in what eventually will be a government that will spread through the entire universe!
This is awesome understanding and it should excite us! It should excite us to want to study God’s book, His Bible and understand His thinking. It is not our thinking and our interpretation that matters. It is God’s thinking and what He can do through and with human beings who are made in His image and likeness.
What are the fruits that He wants us to bear? What does He want us to grow in? He wants us to be a joyful, cheerful people who understand Him, know Him and work with Him. He does not want us to be a wilderness. He wants us to be fruitful.
Turn, if you would, for a list of the fruits that He wants to see. Go to Galatians chapter 5 in the New Testament. We are going to take a look at the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians chapter 5, starting in verse 22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
God says bear fruit. Out-going concern for your neighbor, love, proper affection for all who walk the earth, kindness, longsuffering, patience and faithfulness, these are the fruits of the Spirit. This is what makes us productive. We can be productive points on the earth. We can make our little spot on the earth a productive place by allowing God’s Spirit to work in us and bear these kind of fruits!
Turn to Matthew chapter 5. The famous Beatitudes illustrate this in another way. They go straight into a beautiful and very comprehensive way here. Matthew chapter 5, starting in verse 1: “And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’”
God says you bear these attributes and you have good character. I will reward good character! Good character will follow us forever. It is the one thing God cannot create so He loves us when we help Him create it. He can only do it through us created in His image and likeness. Now we find the purpose of the earth!
The purpose of the earth is to sustain mankind to bear this type of fruit, eternal fruit with eternal rewards. This is our purpose. This we must fulfill. If we really love God and we want to do what is right, we are going to seek truth as we are told in the scriptures and pursue it earnestly. Bring it into our lives and let the light shine in us.
How can we say God is doing this through a planet that He views as His garden? Can we say that with confidence that that is how God views the earth? Yes we can! We have looked at the beginning of the Book now let us take a brief look at the end. Let us go to Revelation chapter 14, please.
We are right near the end of the Bible, the end of the age, as you might say. It is a time we are approaching very closely right now. This is why it is so important to learn this well at this time. Revelation chapter 14, starting in verse 14: “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like 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 who sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.” It was harvested!
Don’t you harvest your garden? Don’t we harvest a productive farm? Of course, we do! The earth is harvested because the earth is God’s garden. We are His crops! He is trying to grow people in His image and likeness who bear the fruits of the Spirit we saw in Galatians chapter 5.
This is a wonderful thing to know. Because once we know God’s purpose, we can work with Him on it. We can accept Him into our lives. We can study the Bible and have it bear fruit in us. We can learn to treat our fellow man as we would a brother, the family of man. Everyone, no matter what race or color, is our brother. How we treat them is what God wants to see because we are treating people who are created in His image and likeness.
Do we treat them like He wants to treat them or do we treat them the way Satan wants people treated? Satan wants them wasted. He wants them destroyed! He wants them ruined. God wants them to bear fruit.
You cannot hold love. You have to give it. Out-going concern is something we must give to other people. That is how we bear fruit. That is how we grow as it says in Galatians 5. Grow in the fruits of the Spirit. That was the Spirit that moved over the waters of darkness and said I am going to shed light on some people and I am going to make the earth productive once again.
What an awesome thing. God will not fail. We can be working with Him on this project! We can be a part of the most awesome construction project that ever took place! A building of a universe based on God’s law of love and God’s government of peace and joy.
We mentioned in the first lesson how a building has to have blue prints and a plan. This is God’s plan. It is His plan for the earth. It is His plan for mankind who dwells upon the earth, and He will harvest it. Let us continue and drive this point home so we understand it fully and completely.
The Bible is full of lessons based on nature, agriculture and animal husbandry. Unfortunately, many people on the earth dwell in urban areas today. Dwelling in a city hinders our understanding of the Bible because the Bible is basically taught to us in agrarian terms, in natural terms. It talks to us in a created sense, not in a man-made creation but in God’s creation. Get out in the countryside. Look up at the sky. Study the stars. Look at the creation and the cycles of the earth and how every spring there is birth. All summer long and into the fall harvests, productive lands are growing good crops because there is a lesson in it for us there.
The lesson is this: to have a good harvest and a good crop, we need first of all fertile ground. Then we need to work that ground and prepare it for seed. Then we need to put the seed into the ground and control the weeds and nurture the seed. We need to control the pests and disease that would want to destroy the crop. We have to make sure it has enough sun and enough rain, enough water.
With those ingredients we can grow a bountiful crop. God says that is how I am growing a crop too. He says all that I put out there in creation is for you to see as I told you in Romans 1:20. It is for you to see how I am growing a crop, how I am bearing fruit through mankind. It is fruit that will have eternal rewards.
Basically on the earth we have two physical harvests. There is one in the spring, which is a small harvest. There is one in the fall, which is a much larger harvest. In the spring we have what we call our “firstfruits”. It is the first produce of the land. In the wild nature, we find here where I live (in the Great Lakes area) first thing in the spring up come the leeks, the wild onions. Then up come the ferns.
When the fern starts it has what we call a fiddlehead on the top. That is edible. The early pioneers would eat these leeks and make onion soup. They would eat these fern crops. They would plant crops that they would get early in the spring. They would plant them in the fall in the form of winter wheat or winter barley. They would have a spring grain crop.
First thing in the spring they would also plant things like radishes that would grow up and give fruit within just a few weeks. This is what they enjoyed first thing in the spring. This is not the bountiful crop of the land. This is a small crop, for in the spring you plant the things that will take all summer and into the fall to grow. This would be your corn, your summer wheat, your apples, oranges, pears and all the things that grow on trees. It takes all season long to come to fruition.
Then what do we have in the fall? We have the fall harvest. We can see the farm stands full of produce. The grocery stores are full of fresh produce. It is a wonderful thing to behold, and it is a blessing from God. It is there for us to learn what He is trying to do through mankind. What a beautiful promise! What a thing to learn just from looking at creation, studying agriculture and studying nature.
In this fall harvest God even blesses us here with a fall harvest moon. I am sure you have heard of the harvest moon. Those of you in the city who have never seen one, go out in late September. Look at the full moon. How bright it is! It is at its brightest time at that point in the year. That allows farmers to get out in the field and bring in a crop way late into the night, harvesting grain. You see these great big grain combines and corn harvesters out there getting the grain in way into the night. Because they can see by the light of the moon. That is what God does to help bring in that fall harvest.
We are going to study the spring harvest and the fall harvest later on in more detail. But right now we are trying to see that this is the purpose of the earth. The physical things that we see going on around us and the physical things we see in nature, help us comprehend the thoughts of God. That is what we want to see today. The purpose of the earth is to bear a spiritual crop for God. Spiritual things will last forever and give us eternal places to be in that wonderful kingdom that Jesus Christ is bringing very soon!
So we have the fall harvest that is huge and a spring harvest that is small. But in every case, a harvest must have seed, sun, rain and human toil. Yes, human toil. The wild things in nature will grow by themselves with just sun and rain. If you want to have cultivatable land used, you have to cultivate it. It will not cultivate itself. You have to work the ground and get rid of the weeds. You have to make it soft. You have to plant the seed. You have to nurture the seed and keep the weeds away. It is a lot of work. It is a lot of human toil, but you cannot provide certain things.
A farmer cannot provide sunlight. A farmer cannot provide rain. He can bring in artificial water from sources on the earth, but that is not like the rain. It is a substitute for the rain. The point is it must have water. God provided the water no matter where the farmer got it from. If he irrigates, he still had to rely on God to bring that water to the earth.
God provides certain things that man cannot but man provides the human toil to take care of the seed. So it is spiritually. God gave us the body. God gave us the free will. God gave us the mind. You and I have to work with it. You and I have to choose to grow in character. We are the ones who have to choose to produce fruit for God and allow Him to work in our lives.
Let us turn back to Jeremiah chapter 4. We are going to read earlier in the chapter this time. Jeremiah chapter 4, starting in verse 3: “For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: ‘Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your hearts, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, lest My fury come forth like fire, and burn so that no one can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.’”
God says turn away from evil and open up your fallow ground to Me. What is your fallow ground? He says here, your hearts. Circumcision was only ever a sign of what we are to do with our hearts. We are to make our hearts soft for God to work in, our minds.
When He says here to break up your fallow ground, that is the hard ground that is useless out there. He says plow it up. Work it up. Disk it down. Make it soft for Me. Make your heart fertile for Me so I can plant My seeds there! We will bear a crop together.
Turn, if you would, to Isaiah chapter 55, starting in verse 6: “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” God says turn away from your thinking. Turn away from Satan’s attitudes, and turn toward Me. Let us work together in a fertile mind and produce the fruits of the Spirit. Then you will be fruitful.
Continuing in verse 8: “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” We read that in our first lesson. We wanted to prove that God’s thoughts, His fabrications, His imaginings, His plan are awesome and wonderful. They are complete in every detail. I want to continue this time.
We are going to continue in verse 10 of Isaiah chapter 55. “’For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.’”
God says His word, His Bible, will proceed through understanding if we allow it into our minds and hearts. It will bear fruit, and it is the rain. His doctrine, His thinking, His word the Holy Bible is the water that can make our seeds sprout, grow and bear our fruit. It can make the trees have buds. It can make the plants come to life in the spring. It can help us in every way to develop holy righteous character and that is what we need.
Let us finish this set of scriptures. Continue in verse 12: “’For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace.’” Those are two of the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit. Those are mentioned in Galatians 5. Continuing, “’…the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.’” What kind of trees can clap their hands? Human beings bearing fruits can clap their hands!
Verse 13: “’Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.’” Do you know why? We become part of that kingdom that will go on forever and ever. What a wonderful thing to behold in God’s word. It has always been here, but if we only view the Bible on a human level, we cannot see it. We need to get into God’s thinking. We need to ask His help for us to understand what He is getting at.
Turn to Matthew chapter 13. Jesus Christ talked of these things too. He talked a lot about it. He knew that His plan had a lot to do with agriculture, and that is how He could teach us. He could teach us through nature, and He did. Matthew chapter 13, starting in verse 1. It is the parable of the sower. Now you are going to see the parable of the sower in a way you never saw it before.
Matthew 13, starting verse 1: “On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: ‘Behold, a sower went out to sow, and as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!’”
God is talking about mankind. Let us continue. He explains this in even more detail by dropping down to verse 18. We can see Christ explaining this parable Himself. Verse 18: “’Therefore hear the parable of the sower: “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in this heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.”’” If we do not want the seed snatched away from us (the thoughts of God taken from us), we need soft ground, a fertile mind.
Verse 20 of Matthew 13: “’But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.’” We need to keep that soil soft and worked so it has depth to it so the roots can go down.
Verse 22: “’Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.’” The weeds and the thorns spoken of in the Bible are our worldly concerns and desires. They can choke the word of God. They can kill the seed so it does not bear fruit.
Verse 23: “’But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.’” There you have it! The earth is being used to produce holy righteous character in the form of the fruits of the Spirit and it does it in the mind of mankind. It is as simple as simple can be.
Let us wrap this subject up for today. Let us look at two more scriptures that will completely flesh out this subject in our minds so we can go back later and study it and grow. We will come back to this subject in other areas and broaden it later. But let us conclude with two more scriptures.
Matthew chapter 9, verse 35: “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then he said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’”
He even calls Himself and God the Father the Lord of the harvest. He asks to pray that the Lord send out workers in the harvest to make it ready. Obviously, the earth is God’s garden. It is God’s garden and He is trying to accomplish an eternal purpose here through a physical creation and through physical mankind.
So now let us go back to the beginning of the book. Go back to Genesis, and we will conclude with a scripture that will now mean so much more to us now that we have this much background about the garden of God. Turn to Genesis chapter 2.
Genesis chapter 2, verse 8: “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Yes, it is up to us to choose good rather than evil, to develop character, to bear fruit in the harvest of God. That is what we look forward to. Please remember, study and pray always that God will work in our lives to help us bear fruit for Him.