Every moral being on earth has been “bought with a price” to be the Lord’s field in which His “imperishable seed” is to grow and be cultivated and produce its wonders. Christians are God’s “farm” –His “husbandry”–His “field”–His “garden.”
A “field” belongs to its owner. So Paul says, “Ye are not your own…ye are bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God holds the title deed. We are absolutely His. We belong to Him by right of creation and by right of preservation. But the greatest fact is that we belong to Him by right of redemption – because He “bought” us with an infinite price to be His “field.”
Paul said to the Corinthians, “I have planted” (1 Corinthians 3:6).
In the parable of the sower, Jesus said, “The seed is the Word.” It is the “imperishable seed.” God brings about His wonderful harvests in the same way a farmer does. Jesus said, “Behold, a sower went forth to sow” (Matthew 13:3).
It is God’s Word that lets us know what to trust Him for. “Faith cometh by hearing”–by our knowing what God’s will is for us. Because they can accomplish such wonders, God wants all His “seed” planted. God’s purpose in creating seed was that it might be planted in “good ground” where it could germinate and “grow” and “bring forth fruit.” So Paul said, “I have planted.” Seed is powerless until it is planted.
The infinite price God paid for the “field” reveals the importance of planting the “imperishable seed.” All of God’s wonderful works are potentially in the “seed.” David said, “All His work is done in faithfulness” (Psalms 33:4), that is, in faithfulness to His promises. God’s works are prevented until the seed is in “good ground.” His design for us all is that we spend our lives making possible the germination and growth of the “imperishable seed.” Nothing can take the place of the seed, not even prayer. Prayer is not the seed: the Word is the seed.
The purpose of God’s promises is their fulfillment. They are all a revelation of what He is EAGER to do for us. The Holy Spirit, whose work it is to fulfill the promises, speaks of them as “exceeding great and precious” (2 Peter 1:4). Their greatness is seen in their suitableness to meet all our needs and to fill all our capacities. Their immutability makes them “exceeding great and precious,” because it removes all reason for doubt and gives us perfect reasons upon which to base our expectations. As “seed,” they cannot be changed. They therefore accomplish their wonderful results at any time and in any garden.
It is the business of Christians to prove to the world by actual demonstration that the promises of God are as true today as they were two thousand years ago. They were given to be known and recognized, claimed, and pleaded in prayer. They are to be sown and tilled by prayer.
In Romans 4:12, God speaks of Christians as those “who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham,” meaning that we should all treat every promise God has made to us exactly as Abraham treated God’s promise to him. Can it be that God is less real to men of this Holy Spirit dispensation than He was to those who lived in the shadows of these “better things”?
Jesus said to some of the Jews in His day, “My Word hath no place in you” (John 8:37).
What place should the Word of God have in us? I answer that it ought to obtain and retain an inside place in the thoughts, the memory, the conscience, and the affections. It ought to obtain and retain in us a place of honor, reverence, faith, love, and obedience. It ought to obtain and retain in us a place of trust. It ought to obtain and retain in us a place of authority.
Millions of people sing that glorious hymn “Standing on the Promises of God,” while the fact is that most of God’s promises are never claimed by most modern church members. Standing on the promises of God means to get them fulfilled; it means to appropriate the blessing that each promise reveals; it means to pray “the prayer of faith” for their fulfillment.
Neglecting them is equivalent to undoing what their fulfillment would mean if it were already accomplished. Their preciousness should determine our love and esteem of them. Paul was glad to say, “I have planted.” If all farmers treated their seed as millions of church members today treat God’s “imperishable seed,” the world would starve to death.
In the seed there are infinite possibilities. This is why it should be said of every one, as it was at the beginning, They gladly received the Word (Mark 12:37; Acts 2:41). In the plainest Bible text there is a world of blessing, just as in a little seed there is a potential tree a million times bigger than the seed. One verse of Scripture allowed to germinate in a human heart may grow into a harvest of thousands of conversions and the “eternal glory” which follows.
One kernel of wheat can, in time, cover a continent and feed nations; and the results of cultivating the “imperishable seed” are as much greater and more desirable than the harvests of material seed as the heavens are higher than the earth. Only the “imperishable seed” can bring about imperishable results. The Bible says: “Whose seed was in itself, after his kind” (Genesis 1:12).
Each promise, by the blessings promised, reveals the nature of the harvest the seed will produce. True Christianity is a system of promises fulfilled.
Watering of Seed
Paul said, “I have planted, Apollos watered.” All the seed and all the plants in God’s garden need watering. Jesus said of the stony ground upon which the seed fell, “It lacked moisture” (Luke 8:6). He said, the seed “had no root” (Matthew 13:6). If the seed is to grow, the ground must be kept moist. It is because of the lack of constant watering that many of God’s plants are withered instead of growing. A garden is a place for growth.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “Your faith groweth exceedingly” (2 Thess. 1:3). God commanded all to “grow in grace.” Therefore, God says to every one of His little gardens, “Be filled with the Spirit”–Keep the ground moist. The water is the Spirit “whom God hath given to them that obey Him” (Acts 5:32). The fullness of the Spirit is the condition of His perfect working.
Every one of the 176 verses of the 119th Psalm shows the Psalmist’s attitude toward the Word of God. He joyfully acknowledges his obligations to keep God’s precepts diligently. He promised: “I will keep Thy statutes.” He said to God, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart. …I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. …I will meditate in Thy precepts. …Princes also did sit and speak against me; but Thy servant did meditate in Thy statutes…I will delight myself in Thy statutes. …I will not forget Thy Word. …I have kept Thy testimonies. …I have chosen the way of truth. …
“I will run the way of Thy commandments…I shall observe it (Thy law) with my whole heart. …I delight myself in Thy commandments. …So shall I keep Thy law continually for ever and ever…I will speak of Thy testimonies…The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from Thy law…Thy statutes have been my songs. …Thou art my portion, O Lord. …I made haste, and delayed not to keep Thy commandments. …The proud have forged a lie against me: but I have kept Thy precepts with my whole heart.
“The law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver…Thy law is my delight…For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven…Thy faithfulness is unto all generations…Unless Thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction…I will never forget Thy precepts…O how love I Thy law! It is my meditation all the day…
“I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy Word…How sweet are Thy Words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! …Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path…I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep Thy righteous judgments…Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart….I have inclined my heart to perform Thy statutes always, even unto the end…I hate vain thoughts; but Thy law do I love… I will have respect unto Thy statutes continually…
“I love Thy Commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold….I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way…Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them…Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from Thy testimonies…my heart standeth in awe of Thy Word…I rejoice at Thy Word, as one that findeth great spoil.” All of these statements, and many more, are in this 119th Psalm. They show us how the Psalmist watered the Word. Paul said, “He that planteth and he that watereth are one” (1 Corinthians 3:8).
Watering the seed is as necessary as planting it. God can’t make the seed grow unless we water it.
And then Paul said, “God giveth the increase.” He made His promises for this one purpose. He always makes the seed grow when it is kept in good ground and watered. The growing comes after the watering.
Jesus also said, it “brought forth fruit.” It always brings forth fruit. The intensity of all holy desire is measured by the degree of divine love which one possesses. God’s desire, therefore, is as much greater than ours can be as His love is greater than ours. His benevolence is so great that His eyes “run to and fro throughout the whole earth” continually seeking opportunities to bless those whose attitude of heart makes it possible. What God has promised belongs to us. The justice of God requires that He make the seed grow when it is “planted” and “watered.” John says, “He is faithful and just.” The word “just” means God would be unjust to withhold from us what He promises.
We have a right to what He promises us. It is a one hundred percent fact that God makes every seed grow when it is “planted” and “watered.” We can all prove this to our present and eternal delight. God is the best Farmer in the universe. He never fails!
His Word–His Seed
Since the work of the “imperishable seed” is supernatural and it is “God alone who makes the seed grow,” they often produce their wonderful results the same day they are “planted.” God’s promises are for TODAY; His TIME is always TODAY. “TODAY if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7). If you delay the acceptance of God’s promises, you may not be alive tomorrow. The promises of God belong to us TODAY, and we are not sure of them any other time.
The only way to be sure of God’s promised blessings is to accept HIS TIME; and we read in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, NOW is the accepted time.” Since NOW is the time God accepts, we should accept it as our time. He commands us to hear His voice “TODAY,” and says, “Harden not your hearts” by waiting.
In Mark 11:24, Jesus said “Believe that ye receive” (literally “TAKE”). WHEN? “NOW”–“when ye pray.” Faith says, before the answer is manifested, “Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me.” When you cannot SEE or FEEL, say, “This is the time to trust.”
The results are not to be manifested until AFTER we believe our prayer is heard and continue to believe.
Say to the Lord: “Thou art now working in response to my faith–I count on Thy faithfulness.” The matter passes out of our hands into God’s hands the moment we make a definite committal of it to God. Paul said, “He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him” (2 Timothy 1:12).
But God does not promise to keep anything that is not committed to Him. This is the way to receive everything God has promised to us.
Were the gifts of God for soul and body merely PROMISED gifts, we would have to wait for the Promiser to fulfill His promises, and the responsibility would be on Him. But all of God’s blessings are OFFERED gifts as well as promised, and therefore need to be ACCEPTED; and the responsibility for their transfer is OURS. This clears God of all responsibility for any failure.
Harvest of Watered Seed
What was the effect of David’s attitude toward God’s Word–of his watering the seed? This shepherd boy, by watering the Word within him, became wiser than all his teachers (Psalms 119:99).
His attitude toward God’s Word made him “a man after God’s own heart.” It made him the world’s greatest Psalmist. His Psalms have blessed millions during the centuries which have followed.
His watering of the seed made him a divinely inspired writer. As every seed planted, produces more seed, so David’s words in the Psalms became God’s “imperishable seed” which have for centuries germinated in human hearts all over the world. His words have been the texts for thousands of sermons.
David found that meditation chews our spiritual food, and gets the sweetness and nutritive virtue of the Word into our hearts and lives. Meditation has a digesting power, and turns truth into spiritual nourishment. It is the Word of God which Paul says, “effectually worketh in you that believe” all the divine transformations from “glory to glory.” David said, “I understand more than the ancients because I keep Thy precepts” (Psalms 119:100).
By observing in heart and life the precepts of the Lord, David early in life understood more than those who lived in earlier times learned in a whole lifetime by experience.
David, who started life only as a shepherd boy, by meditating in and practicing divine precepts, obtained such wisdom and knowledge that he was spoken of in 2 Samuel 14:17 as “an angel of God” in judging right and wrong. In the same chapter, his wisdom is compared to “the wisdom of an angel.” He said, “Thy Word hath quickened me” (Psalms 119:50). It quickened his whole being to the extent that God’s Word was fulfilled in him. His life was filled with praise and thanksgiving.
The possibilities of the “imperishable seed” are infinite. Nothing can be so beneficial as being God’s Field. Only God can know what the eternal harvest will be. Remember that, throughout your Christian life, “YOU ARE GOD’S FIELD TO BE PLANTED.”