Many of you know that we drive a big rig delivering Broadway shows across our nation. As such most of our time is out traversing the roads. Daily we encounter situations that most commuters don’t. High traffic areas, overcrowded freeways, lineups for toll booths, accident scenes, etc.
Knowing about road and weather conditions is vital in our line of work. Traveling in less than ideal road conditions is just part of our normal lives. We drive through areas and in weather conditions that most others would shy away from. As I write this reflection we are traveling through a major snowstorm that is covering the nation diagonally from Boston and all of Pennsylvania through most of Tennessee. Fortunately the roads here in Virginia are clear, but most businesses are closed. We, ourselves, shut down early last night because the roads were getting dicey, and we had the luxury of time on our side since we’re traveling home some 775 miles for a Doctor appointment. We woke to six inches of snow on the ground.
We once had to stop at the tail end of blizzard conditions to chain up the tires on our rig and trailer so that we could go over mountain passes. We’ve been in snow storms in which our windshield wipers had so much snow and ice caked them that we had to reach our hand out the window and flick the wiper blades as they passed over the window. We just encountered icing up wiper blades yesterday, alerting us that our heated wiper blades were not working. Thank goodness my handy husband was able to diagnose and repair those blades. We’ve also traveled through black ice conditions, dust storms, rain, torrential thunderstorms, and wind.
The road and weather conditions that are of the highest concern for me are those really icy conditions and wind. Wind has the tendency to scare me. Our vehicle is high profile, when coupled with a trailer we can be a prime target from wind gusts to be pushed around on the roads. We’ve witnessed many rigs that have blown over due to quick and sudden strong wind gusts. One such accident occurred to a FedEx truck in Kansas, laying on it’s side with the top of the trailer ripped open and it’s packages strewn all over multiple lanes of the highway. We sat for hours while the emergency crews tried to clean up the damage that wind gusts created – I remember thinking that yes, Kansas was a good choice for the Wizard of Oz to take place, as indeed it is very windy in Kansas.
But the one weather condition that we have not faced is a whirlwind, otherwise known as a tornado. We’ve seen plenty of great big black rotating funnel clouds off in the distance with their tails reaching downward in a twisted attempt to make contact with the earth, rotating quickly and bent upon the destruction of anything that happens to be in it’s path. But, so far, God has graciously protected us from experiencing the fury of such cyclonic effects of nature. It’s a natural phenomenon that I have no such desire to experience up close and personal in my life, I assume that others feel the same way.
It’s this imagery of that angry black tornado off in the distance that pops into my mind when I read “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7a, ESV) References of reaping what you sow is also found elsewhere in the Bible. Basically, it’s the idea that you get back what you give. What you get back in results is in direct proportion to your actions. If you sow goodness and mercy you will reap the benefits of your behavior. “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6, ESV) And, of course if you sow dishonestly, sooner or later it will come back on you. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7, ESV) And, “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38, ESV)
Old Testament stories demonstrate this principle of reaping of what you sow. Time after time, after time, the Israelites are given chances. They’ve witnessed God’s power up close and personal. They’ve witnessed His power through signs and miracles. The Israelites promised that they would follow God and recognized that His providence guides them. Yet, they still disregard God’s laws and commands, intermarry with pagan people, and get sidetracked by believing in their false gods. God warns them over and over: Don’t intermarry, don’t revere false gods, don’t seek alliances with foreign powers, if you do, you’ll reap the consequences of your actions. We witness that Israel is ripped into two kingdoms, and each over the ensuing years traverse down a path headed towards utter destruction and back into captivity. At times, I’ve wanted to crawl right into the stories and shake some sense into those people. I want to tell them, wake up, you’re walking right into destruction. You’re going to reap what you’re sowing, and it’s not going to be a pretty sight. Sure enough, God withdrawals His hand of protection against the northern kingdom of Israel, they are conquered by foreign superpowers, and lead into captivity. Israel loses their promised land. And, the southern kingdom of Judah is not to far behind them either. God sends prophets time and again to warn them, and ultimately they too are conquered and sent into captivity. Judah too loses their promised land.
God is patient, kind and loving, but He also has His limits on just how much rebellion perpetrated by His children that He will take. Sooner or later, those disobedient children reap what they’ve sowed. When God strikes, we can be sure that His striking will be deliberate and quick, not like a gentle whisper carried on a light breeze, but like the roaring whirlwind of a tornado, laying waste to sin and rebellion. Witness Sodom & Gomorrah, and the destruction of the Northern & Southern Kingdoms.
Thankfully, God in His infinite love provided each of us with grace, His unmerited favor, when Jesus came to us and sacrificed Himself in our places. Because of Jesus’ actions, we all, sinners as we are, can approach our holy and pure God. Yes, He’s forgiving. Yes, He’s loving. But, He still expects us to keep Him first and foremost in our lives. The principle of reaping what we sow still applies to us. If we put other things before God, if we worship money, or power and love them more than we love God, we too will experience the consequences of our actions. God will not keep us like puppets on a string, He will give us over to our selfish desires. Though He wants to keep us from the harms that we willingly afflict upon ourselves, He respects us enough to let us make our own willful decisions, and experience the consequences of those actions.
Knowing that I will reap what I sow needs to remain front-and-center in my mind. And, that’s hard to accomplish. Because I know that I too, can behave like those rebellious Israelites. It’s too easy to get distracted by the things that we can see, feel, taste and touch in this world. I know that I can’t do it on my own. I need the Holy Spirit to continually guide me on the way I should go – the right way, God’s way. It’s staying in God’s Word daily, it’s in praying, it’s in reflecting upon what I read, and it’s in asking God to help me to understand the application of what I read in His Word, that will make me successful. It’s in confessing and repenting from my sin and willful behavior, that brings me back to Him. The only whirlwind that I want to experience, is the whirlwind of grace, peace, love, and mercy that comes from remaining in a right relationship with God.
What do you think about reaping what you sow?
“And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:18, ESV)
“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12, ESV)