Do you not say, “There are still four months and then comes the harvest”? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! John 4:35
The Lord had a special burden for Samaria—the little territory north of Judah inhabited by those who had survived the Assyrian Invasion of 701 B.C. and who had intermarried with pagan settlers. The Jewish leaders disparaged these people, but Jesus visited the region, told a parable about a Good Samaritan, and directed His disciples to take the Gospel there after His resurrection (Acts 1:8). In Acts 8, the evangelist Philip led a revival in this region. Paul and Barnabas also made a trip into the area (Acts 15:3).
Jesus foresaw all this in John 4, when He led His disciples through a village in Samaria. There He sat by the well talking to an immoral woman, evangelizing her. Deeply moved, she went into town and told everyone about Him. As the townspeople returned to meet Him, Jesus told the disciples that even though it wasn’t harvest time, they were seeing a spiritual harvest.
Where others saw riffraff, Jesus saw revival.
Let’s look at the world like that today—white for harvest!
As there are no little people in God’s sight, so there are no little places. Francis Schaeffer
The Fields are Ready for Harvest – John 4:34-38
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. Psalm 147:5
After a recent move, Mabel’s seven-year-old son, Ryan, fussed as he prepared to attend a summer camp at his new school. Mabel encouraged him, assuring him that she understood change was hard. But one morning, Ryan’s out-of-character grumpiness seemed excessive. With compassion, Mabel asked, “What’s bothering you, Son?”
Staring out of the window, Ryan shrugged. “I don’t know, Mom. I just have too many feelings.”
Mabel’s heart ached as she comforted him. Desperate for a way to help him, she shared that the move was hard for her too. She assured Ryan that God would stay close, that He knows everything, even when they couldn’t understand or voice their frustrations. “Let’s set up a visit with your friends before school starts,” she said. They made plans, grateful that God understands even when His children have “too many feelings.”
The writer of Psalm 147 experienced overwhelming emotions throughout his faith journey and recognized the benefits of praising the all-knowing Maker and Sustainer of all, the Healer of physical and emotional wounds (vv. 1–6). He praised God for the ways He provides and “delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (v. 11).
When we’re struggling to make sense of our emotions, we don’t have to feel alone or discouraged. We can rest in the unlimited understanding of our unchanging, loving God.
Reflect & Pray
How does knowing God understands your most intimate needs help you trust Him while you process your emotions? What emotions seem most difficult for you to place into God’s mighty and merciful hands?
Sovereign God, thank You for assuring me that You understand and care about my emotional and physical needs.
There is a great contrast between the world’s value system and the Lord’s. The danger for believers is that we can easily slip into the culture’s way of thinking without realizing that our perspective is out of line with God’s.
This is vividly illustrated in the request of James and John’s mother. She wanted greatness and honor for her sons but sought it in a manner contrary to the Lord’s ways, which caused discord among the disciples. Self-promotion isn’t the way to esteem or harmony with others. Jesus’ life illustrates the exact opposite. He didn’t come to be served but to serve and give up His life to ransom lost sinners (Matt. 20:28).
As Christians, we are to emulate Jesus’ submission to the Father and spirit of servanthood. Whether in ministry or secular employment, we must consider ourselves as servants and our work as being under the Lord’s authority. This means we are to humble ourselves and submit to those who are in charge, valuing them and even overlooking bothersome character traits or habits—we are to serve them as if we were serving Christ Himself. We may never be applauded for our work here on earth, but our reward is in heaven.
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” (Psalm 119:9)
Psalm 119:9-16 provides key instructions for those who would seek to please their Creator with a godly life.
“Taking heed” (Hebrew shamar—guarding) of God’s Word is the foundation upon which a godly life is built (vv. 10-11). The psalmist sought God with his whole heart and pleaded with God to prevent him from wandering (Hebrew shagah—to stray through ignorance). That plea was then turned into a confirmation and an understanding: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (v. 11).
With the assurance of these foundational elements, the psalmist promised the Lord that he will organize his life so that he “will not forget thy word” (v. 16).
Similar to the apostle John’s assurance in his first epistle, the psalmist recognized behaviors that he was already exhibiting. His “lips” have “declared” the judgments of God (v. 13). He knows that he has “rejoiced in the way” (v. 14) of God’s revealed testimonies as much as the ungodly have boasted of gaining wealth. He is no stranger to godly living and loves the way of God, seeking to excel in holiness (1 John 5:3).
The section closes with two “I will” promises, surely based upon his earlier commitment to cleanse his way. The psalmist promised to “meditate in [God’s] precepts, and have respect unto [His] ways” (v. 15). This assumes time, study, and careful thought about the purposes and intent of God’s message. It is not a promise to sit comfortably and “clear one’s mind” of cogent thinking, waiting on some voice to reveal truth. The psalmist can then “delight” in the statutes of the Word (Psalm 119:16; Romans 7:22).
As we seek to know God’s great Word, may His works refresh our hearts and delight our lives. HMM III