Summary: Faith either moves mountains or tunnels through them. Eight encouraging promises for seed sowers.
Promises for Harvesters (Isa. 54:1-17)
Faith either moves mountains or finds a way to tunnel through any challenge.
The people of Israel were reeling mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually from a series of hardships. The northern kingdom of Israel suffered under the poor leadership of more than twenty kings. Judah only had eight good kings out of twenty men. They could have coined the phrase, "Looking for a few good men." The Israelites endured opression, dispossession, and displacement for centuries. Many of the people grow discouraged, disconsolate and distressed. They were like a woman forsaken, rejected and living in shame.
Yet, in the midst of adversity, God speaks through Isaiah to foretell of renewal, revival and a flourishing time to come. How sweet the return of God’s mercies toward us after a display of His chastening hand. Weeping may last for a night, but His joy comes in the morning. God’s gathering of His people becomes evident from His mercy not our own merit. God is in the recovery and reproduction business and He wants us to live in the light of His resurrection promises to cover the earth with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
The increase of God’s harvest will bring great joy, enrichment and encouragement to millions. Multitudes will be converted and tell of the greatness of our God by finding new life through faith in Christ and His substitutionary payment for the forgiveness of sin. Even in heaven there will be uncommon joy for sinners who repent and much more for the people groups that find the Savior. The boundaries of the church will extend much further than ever before. Just as God used the apostles to reach 10% of the earth’s population by the fourth century, so God is in the business of reaping a harvest of righteousness in our day as well.
Quote - Happiness will never come to those who do not appreciate what they already have in Christ and His promises.
Let us lengthen our cords and strengthen our stakes that they might bear the weight of the enlarged curtains required to contain the new multitudes that will be apart of God’s bigger tent inhabitants. It is proof of God’s power, prowess and productivity still working despite all of the negative news we hear every day.
This passage is filled with promises for harvesters who are willing to expand, extend and export their faith to the fields that are ripe for harvesting. It was this passage that launched William Carey and thousands of missionaries to experience the greatest harvesting in history. They took these promises and saw God do great things - can we believe and obey God in similar ways. Let us examine eight great promises for havesters to help us overcoming our fears, feeling of inadequacies, and insufficiencies.
After all we do serve the Lord of the harvest. We can anticipate the Lord bringing forth fruit in the proper time. (Matt 9:36-38)
1. Even though the beginnings of Christ’s harvest may be small they will eventually be great. Let us sing with anticipation of the great and joyful fruitfulness that we will see evidenced through the Spirit’s enabling power. "Sing O childless woman! Break forth into loud and joyful song. ... For the woman who could bear no children now has more than all other women. For the Lord says, "Enlarge your house and build an addition: spread out your home. For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will take over other nations and live in their cities." (Isa 54:1-3)
"Sing unto the Lord a new song. For He is doing marvelous things. He right hand and His holy arm has gotten us the victory." Let us live, minister and envision the great things God will continue to do through us.
Faith gives us the courage to face the present with confidence and the future with expectancy.
Let us realize that Christianity has expanded greatly in the last 150 years thanks to people who took God at His word and launched out in to the developing world. Today, 80% of the world’s born again Christians live in Africa, Asia and South America. In 1850 they only represented 2% of the world’s believers. God is doing a great work by allowing many to reached the 24,000 people groups of the world so that we only have about 6000 to go.
Patrick Johnstone who wrote the monumental world prayer guide, "Operation World" writes about the most encouraging evangelical developments in the 1990’s:
Patrick Johnstone: the most encouraging news of the 90’s
The American mission agency GMI (Global Mapping) asked Patrick Johnstone, author of the recently updated prayer handbook ’Operation World’, to list the seven most encouraging trends of the 1990’s. This is his list: