Fruitful in spite of circumstances.
11 You will show me the path of life. In Your Presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16).
After a trying time, we may not know how to pick up the threads. Somehow, we have to move on. We can take the lessons we have learned and begin the next chapter of our life. Every season usually comes to an end. Challenges can put a damper on future prospects; but we must take the good with the bad, and look forward to brighter days ahead.
Celebrate the blessings that come from adversity, and be grateful with expectation. Remember how God came through for you, and steel yourself with His Faithfulness. Don’t begrudge honor and thanksgiving for small mercies. If we focus on hardship, we will discount any blessings. Usher new beginnings by commemorating past blessings.
8 So The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a Mighty Hand and with an outstretched Arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. 9 He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, “a land flowing with milk and honey”; 10 and now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O Lord, have given me.’
“Then you shall set it before The Lord your God, and worship before the Lord your God. 11 So you shall rejoice in every good thing which The Lord your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite, and the stranger who is among you (Deuteronomy 26).”
God brings out His people from afflictions, so that they may enter into the place of His choosing. The Israelites had no doubt seen great wonders and signs, before their departure from Egypt. They would not forget how God brought them out by His Mighty Arm. They had to take these memories of God with them into the promised land—a land flowing with milk and honey. The God of Mighty Power, in the place our struggle, is the God of provision in the place of promise.
The Israelites had to bring the firstfruits of the land before The Lord. The firstfruits of our success should be dedicated as an offering of worship and thanksgiving to God. He is the making of all our success. When we fail to worship God with our substance, we usurp the glory that belongs to Him. We become grateful in what God has blessed us with, when we rejoice in His Goodness. For some people, nothing ever seems enough, because money burns holes in their pockets. So if all they think about is how much they need to spend, they will not see that they are already blessed to be able to plan ahead. Until we worship God with what He has blessed us with, we will not be content with what we have. Rejoice in every good thing God has given you, whether big or small. Enjoy the fruit of the land with thanksgiving. Rejoice in the blessings God has provided you and your loved ones. Celebrate God’s Goodness with an offering, and by giving to those in need.
8 “Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and possess the land which you cross over to possess, 9 and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord swore to give your fathers, to them and their descendants, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’ 10 For the land which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden; 11 but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, 12 a land for which the Lord your God cares. The Eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year (Deuteronomy 11).
We don’t just waltz into what God has for us with no strings attached. Since He has determined what He has for us, He has instructions that we must follow. We have not been this way before, so we must keep in lockstep with Him. We need to be obedient and be courageous to go in and possess what He has allotted for us. He promises that if we obey, everything will fall in place and our days will be prolonged. As long as we are in God’s Plan, He will work out everything for our good. He will oversee all our affairs; He will supply what we need from the start of the year, to the end. When God is running every detail of our lives, we don’t have to be concerned about our circumstances. We are furnished from His Presence. But we must be obedient to reap the benefits of God’s Provision. God favors those who are willing to submit to Him.
The places where God has settled us for blessing are nothing like those of our past. The future God has for us is not the place we left behind. The Israelites had to look forward to the land flowing with milk and honey, by not longing for Egypt. A born-again Christian has to forget the past life, and yearn to be renewed in the Life of Christ. They have to get a fresh perspective on life, that is guided by God’s Word and The Holy Spirit. They will have to give God their entire life, responsibilities and relationships. He will equip them with Power from above to strengthen them in their weakness. He will bless them and give them Eternal life, by the promises in Christ. The promised land is the inheritance we have, as children of God, in The Kingdom of God, year after year. Eternal life starts here and goes beyond our lives on the Earth. The life we have been promised is nothing like the “Egypt” we left behind. It’s not the place of uncertainty and hopelessness. It’s a life that is fruitful in peace, joy, love, mercy, grace, and hope—it’s flowing with milk and honey.
11 You crown the year with Your Goodness, and Your Paths drip with abundance. 12 They drop on the pastures of the wilderness, and the little hills rejoice on every side. 13 The pastures are clothed with flocks. The valleys also are covered with grain; they shout for joy, they also sing (Psalm 65).
The Lord crowns every year with His Goodness. He creates a path of abundance and fatness for those who put their trust in Him. Even in the wilderness, where nature seems famished and destitute to provide, God prepares a spread to satisfy the hungry. He is not limited to natural resources. Those who are lacking in the world’s standards, living on a day’s sustenance, rejoice in the abundance that God supplies them. Every blessing is a source of joy in the midst of scarcity. Though the year may seem like it’s filled with tragedy, loss or uncertainty, God has crowned it with His Goodness. He has already gone before us to ensure that we are not consumed with grief and misfortune. In this seeming wilderness, there’s still pastures and providence, carefully portioned out so that in the present we lack no good thing. We are accustomed to not just having enough; we tend to want to have a surfeit to feel comfortable. If we have enough right at this moment, we are still blessed.
4 Thus says The Lord of hosts, The God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to The Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace (Jeremiah 29).
God had sent the children of Israel captives to Babylon, because they had rebelled against Him. He spoke to them by His prophet Jeremiah; He told them to increase and prosper in the land of captivity. When we are not where we hope to be in life, either by our poor choices or God’s Purpose, we have to still believe that He has our best interests. It may be that we are facing the consequences of our actions, and no longer have the comforts we are used to. We can still live, prosper and flourish where we have landed. We must give our best, in the worst situations we find ourselves. We may not like where we are, whether it’s a job or a home. As long as we have no other alternatives, we have to pray for the welfare of that place; if it prospers, we prosper. We just don’t know how long we are going to be stuck in the rut. Flourish where you are, as you bide your time for greener pastures. Make every moment count to your benefit, by seeing it’s potential. Nothing is worthless to God in His Plans for you.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My Name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My Salvation (Psalm 91).”
It truly doesn’t matter your station in life. If you set your affection on God, He will honor you. He will not disregard His devoted ones, who know Him and trust Him. When facing trouble, call on Him because He promises to answer. Trouble is not going to hamper God’s Goodness. Don’t fear hardship or trouble, if you have set your love on God; He will set His Love on you. You will prosper in every plan God has for you. He will still satisfy from His Glorious Riches. He will give His beloved honor, and show His Salvation. What great promises we have, when we love and trust God! No famine, sickness, adversity and storm can separate us from His Love. We are satisfied by His Goodness in the midst of trouble.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in The Lord, and whose hope is The Lord. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river. And will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit (Jeremiah 17).
The one who trusts in The Lord will never lack. Just like a tree that is sustained by the waters, so is the one who is blessed by God. By trusting and seeking God, even as roots grow deep to seek water, we will continue to be nourished by God. So in the famine or drought, we are always kept in God’s sustenance. There’s no fear when we trust, but bated expectation. Though the funds may seem to dwindle in the bank account, or food is diminishing, our needs will be met. We can still yield fruit, be productive, and useful to others at difficult times. Our countenance is kept radiant, like leaves that remain green; because we have hope instead of fear or anxiety. The one who trusts in God is fruitful in meeting the needs of others, though they may have needs of their own. Like a tree planted by the river, they are continuously supplied by God’s Riches, which never run out.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in His Law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither. And whatever he does shall prosper (Psalm 1).
Be careful to consume what will benefit you. Don’t gorge on empty calories in place of real nutrients. Hunger can make us eat anything that is on hand; so does hopelessness. It’s important to get advice and counsel that is based on sound doctrine. People who are disappointed with their lives often project their frustrations on others. They want others to feel like they do; so they always have someone to blame for their misery or have nothing positive to say. Blessed is the one who doesn’t indulge in the opinions of nay-sayers. Blessed is the one who doesn’t take advice from those who oppose God’s Counsel.
The one who delights in God and His Law will prosper in what they do. They weigh their decisions by God’s Ways and stick to their convictions. Instead of complaining and murmuring about what God could have done, they focus on what they can do to please God. They are like a tree planted by a river and are prepared for every good work. Those who shift their focus from their circumstances, by doing the next thing in obedience to God, will be fruitful in every season of their lives. They will not wither in despair, but become useful vessels for God’s Purpose.
13 ‘And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love The Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. 15 And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled (Deuteronomy 11).’
We can flourish in every situation whether good or bad. God has ordained our lives for His Purpose. In the midst of trials, we have opportunities to still be fruitful in caring for the needs of others, and being obedient to God. Whether we are in the land of promise, or in the place of affliction, we are still kept in God’s Goodness. We can enjoy the fruit of the land. We can be thankful and offer God the firstfruits of His Provision, and enjoy what He has blessed us with.
We have to be careful where we get our counsel and source of hope, in times of uncertainty. If we continue to believe and trust in God, we will not fear our circumstances. Instead, we will be like a tree planted by the rivers whose leaves remain green, and are fruitful in every season. God has crowned every year with His Goodness, from the start to the end. He has created a path of abundance and fatness in the times of scarcity. He is Faithful to show His Favor to those who depend on Him.
13 Those who are planted in the house of The Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, 15 to declare that The Lord is upright. He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him (Psalm 92).