Reaping What is Sown
In the normal course of events a sower expects to reap a harvest after the growing season. If you plant little, you can only expect a small harvest. If you plant a lot you expect a lot. While a harvest is not guaranteed, we would agree that this makes general sense.
This is the same with the way we live our life. We will harvest from life what we sow in life. As God says; “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Gal 6:7). This is a spiritual truth that affects much more of our lives than we care to think.
In everyday life, the reap-what-you-sow principle holds true. A friendly man will have many friends and the opposite is also true. A generous man will find people are generous to them, and the opposite also holds.We are told in 2 Corinthians 9:6 “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” An angry man will find many disagreements and a peacemaker is more likely to find peace. We find many examples of the principle of reaping-what-is-sown throughout the Bible. Proverbs tells us; “the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward” (11:18) and “whoever sows injustice will reap sorrow” (22:8). Both examples are illustrated in the life of Jacob.
Jacob sowed deceit when he dressed up as Esau and deceived his own father. He overturned the natural order of the firstborn and obtained Esau’s blessing. Seven years later he was at the receiving end of a similar case of the blessing of the firstborn. He was deceived by Laban in the matter of marrying the firstborn Leah, rather than the second, Rachel. It can be reasonably argued that Jacob got what he deserved. Jacob’s deception came back on him in other ways. Laban deceived him over his wages ten times. Later his sons learnt his bad habits and deceived him and others in the matter of Shechem. Later still, and equally dramatically, his sons deceived him in the matter of Joseph. Jacob sowed deception and reaped deception. There is a certain justice about this.
Jacob also sowed and reaped a blessing. When God asked him to leave Laban, he obeyed. It was a dangerous move. But God came to his rescue and warned Laban not to interfere with Jacob. In the same way, trusting in God, Jacob was delivered from his fear of Esau. God rewarded his trust, which also fulfilled Jacob’s request to God in his vow.
So Jacob reaped deception and protection in his life. The fact that ‘Jacob’ transformed into ‘Israel’ and gave up his deceptive ways did not change the fact that he had to bear the consequences of his deception throughout his life. The seeds he sowed early in his life grew and bore fruit. Certainly he learnt his lesson and changed for the better, but he still had to suffer for the bad seed he had sown.
“Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.” Psalm 62:12
Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, is another example. She knew the prophecy about Jacob – that the older would serve the younger. This suited her, because Jacob was her favourite. Her mistake was in thinking that God needed her help to bring about His will. So she engineered Jacob’s receipt of the blessing of Esau in an act of deception at its worst. But she did not get away with her sin.
She had not foreseen Esau would want to kill Jacob, so she was forced to send him away for safety. As far as Scripture records, she never saw Jacob again. By trying to bring about the exaltation of her favourite, she reaped separation from him. Instead she spent the remainder of her time with Esau. There is a certain justice about this. She reaped what she had sowed throughout her life.
We have only looked at one person’s life yet we have seen the sow-reap principle very clearly. When we look at the lives of others in Scripture, we see this principle working out repeatedly. Let us not fool ourselves and pretend it no longer operates. Even today we reap what we sow as a general principle.
Let’s consider this principle in a little more detail. If we reap what we sow, then we need to be very careful about what seeds we plant in our lives, both early on and at every stage of our life. If we receive back what we ourselves have done, we need to think twice about what we do. It makes sense to sow kindness, generosity and love, so that we can receive them back. As James says; “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (Jam 3:18). However, if we sow arguments, division, jealousy and anger, we will receive them back in due course. It is only a matter of time.
This is not the only issue – it is also true that seeds tend to increase. Whatever we sow will probably come back in greater measure. We may reap 2-fold, 3-fold or even more-fold. Since this is the case, we need to be extremely wise about what we sow during our lifetime.
Since we are followers of God and his commands, we should have no fear about what we will reap.“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” (Rom 6:22).
from “Way Ahead”