The Character of God as Agriculturalist Pt 4: Don’t eat that fruit yet!

What do Leviticus 19:23-25, Galatians 1:17-18, and Daniel 1:3-5, 18-20 have in common?
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Lev 19 23 And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: THREE YEARS shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of. 24 But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise the Lord withal. 25 And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you the increase thereof: I am the Lord your God.

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Galatians 1 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 18 Then after THREE YEARS I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

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Daniel 1 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them THREE YEARS, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

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Daniel 1 18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

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Father had been showing me about the little fruit tree for over 2 years now, but I didn’t see the scriptural connections in my mind until last April as I started reading Daniel again, and one morning as I was painting the basement and praying, Paul’s journey to Arabia came to mind.

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Here’s the deal, and this runs absolutely counter to the practices of the modern church — new believers need YEARS to mature and grow before their fruit is going to be fit for others to benefit from and should not immediately be pressed into service wherever there is a need.  In Leviticus we see the pattern beginning — the tree must be left alone, to grow, for three years — in fact, any fruit it yields is considered to be uncircumcised, not fit for human consumption!  By the fourth year, the fruit is for God, presented to Him, if you will, set apart, and only in the fifth year can a man eat of it.  But before that time, the ground must be prepared so that it is suitable for growth, the roots must be covered and well protected, there must be adequate nutrients, fertilizer must be applied, the bad branches must be pruned and the unruly ones tamed, suckers must be sheared away from the roots, and it must be well watered.

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Now, if I am right that this is also a picture of the believer, we will see this pattern again in scripture.  So let’s look at Daniel — four young men were chosen and trained up for three years in the Babylonian language and culture — so that they could stand in the presence of the King of Babylon in the 4th year, and when the time came the King was very much impressed by their wisdom and knowledge — later in the narrative we see that the King placed them in authority over his people (Dan 2:48-9)

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Let’s look also at Paul, from his testimony in his letter to the Galatians.  After Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, he took a three year sabbatical in Arabia (where many believe he went to Mt Sinai).  Despite being one of the most learned men on earth as far as knowledge of the scriptures, he went back to the drawing board — instead of being immediately pressed into service (although he did briefly attempt it in Damascus, as reported in Acts 9, but it would appear that after the attempt on his life he left for Arabia before heading to Jerusalem).  Despite his knowledge, he was incredibly bogged down with the oral laws and traditions and teachings.  He needed time, as any new believer, to detox and get back to what the scriptures actually said.  All of us who have emerged from the world can relate to this!  And in addition, whenever we come into a radical alteration in our beliefs, as when many of us realized that the Torah is still for followers of the Messiah, so we can walk as He walked, we need that time to unlearn and relearn.

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There is some debate as to whether or not the ministry of Messiah was three years of one year — but if it was three years then is also fits the pattern of how long a person must be discipled before being entrusted with the responsibilities of caring for people — certainly the most precious treasures YHVH possesses.

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The reason for my writing is this — the religious system shortchanged us and misrepresented the character of God, which is to care for the young as a Father, and by extension, we as older brothers and sisters must be willing to nurture the newcomers instead of using them as resources.  The mature ARE the resources, not the immature.  But the religious mindset has scared the beejeebies out of us and guilted the joy out of us if we don’t hit the ground running.  Oddly enough, greasy grace doesn’t extend to how we treat those who have an obvious anointing on their lives.  If we see that you are an evangelist — better get out there and win souls, boy! Doesn’t matter if you are still messed up — lets get them in the pews because if they die tomorrow and go to hell it will be all your fault!  If we see that you are a teacher — we’ll just send you out to teach our children before you even know the basics, here’s a curriculum — even though you don’t know enough to question it or verify the contents!  Pastor?  Gotta get you to divinity school!  Prophet?  Please go away and never come back — unless you have something nice to say don’t say anything at all!  Apostle? We’ll send you to Africa to plant our denominational flags so you can make them twice the sons of hell that we are.

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NO!  This should not be!  YHVH spoke very clearly to me about this once:

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IT TAKES TIME TO LEARN!

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It takes — time.  And that requires patience.  A believer is a precious investment, and we should treat our new brothers and sisters better than we do.  We should encourage them to take some years to be still and quiet, so that when they open their mouths they don’t have to regret it in a year when they figure out that their understanding wasn’t where it needed to be.  Maybe they thought they were knowledgable, and haven’t yet come to the humbling realization of how little they know.  Like a baby tree, they should be propped up, and fed and watered, and pruned and protected from the elements — not forced to try to bear good fruit before their time.  It is a cruel thing we do, and we do it because we have inherited lies, religious expectations instead of the compassion that comes through the Spirit.  Perhaps if we had been given the opportunity to simply learn and grow and change with no other expectations foisted upon us, we wouldn’t be hazing the newcomers.  But it’s time to recognize that the new lambs, and the old lambs who have come into Torah, are not yet equipped to minister and we need to stop pushing them to do it.

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The Holy Spirit does not equip us immediately — there is work that must be done, or the roots will not go deep enough and that beautiful young believer will topple over by being forced to carry too much of a load.  We need to make sure this doesn’t happen.  And if we push someone too hard and too fast and they fall away, well shame on us.  I know it was done to us, but it’s just plain hazing.  Let’s try to be better spiritual parents than we were given when we came to the faith.  After all, what are we saying about the character of our King when we treat saplings like mature trees? Shalom!

saplings

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2 Comments



  1. Oh how gardening is good for the soul. It certainly teaches or enhances the principles of Scripture. I see some parallels in the churches where they have youth leading youth with their cursory understanding of Scripture. Was there not a letter found from Peter where he advised that students get at least 6 years of Scripture study under their belts (North American idiom 😉 ) before heading out to teach others?

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