Planting Seeds, Tilling Soil

There it was - a beautiful scene representing deep, spiritual truths. The long strip of verdant green shrub wound its way through the Negev desert until it gently touched the blue sky. It seems unlikely that this narrow strip of shrubs and grass survive the rocky, parched desert. It exists only because rainwater funnels into dry stream beds, called “wadis.” It’s beautiful to see life amidst rocky, parched land.

As I continued my journey through the barren desert I imagined the parched ground being replaced with forests, fields of flowers, rushing waterfalls and wildlife drinking from calm, flowing streams. The prophet Isaiah describes a time when God will “pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground…” (44:3) Ezekiel also describes a day when Israel will bloom. He describes a time when the Dead Sea will support life and fruit trees will grow in the desert (Eze. 47:1-12). Wow, can you imagine the Dead Sea teeming with life?

But this is also a time when Israel will bloom spiritually. In the second half of Isaiah 44:3 God says, “I will pour out my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” Paul alludes to this coming spiritual revival in Romans 11:26 when he writes, “All Israel will be saved.” Paul envisions a national revival for Israel, no doubt gleaned in part from his reading of Isaiah and Ezekiel.

However, you might point out, these things are yet future. Israel’s desert is still a barren wasteland. The Dead Sea has no life. Israel’s people have not been spiritually revived. Instead, they are a people who, by and large, do not know the Lord. What is it that we can do now? We can be busy preparing the soil for rain. We should be planting seeds (sharing the gospel) and tilling the soil (prayer and loving-kindness) in preparation for the coming spiritual rain (Zech. 12:10).

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Did you know Jewish ministry is the only ministry in which fruit is promised? The Bible tells us there will always be a “remnant according to grace” (Rom. 11:5), just as there was in Elijah’s day (I Kings 19:18). What does it look like to plant seeds and prepare soil with the hopeful expectation of bearing fruit – both present and future? 

I believe there are three essential ways we can show love to Israel today that must not be neglected: prayer (Rom. 10:1), evangelism (Rom. 1:16) and acts of kindness (Rom. 11:11, 15:27). Israel is a blessing to the nations even while the majority of Israelis are in unbelief. Can you imagine the blessing they would be if they were a nation whose population was primarily one in belief?

Prophecy, such as the spiritual revival of Israel spoken of by so many of the Prophets and New Testament writers, should spur us to action. We should not presume we can speed up God’s sovereign timetable or hasten the return of the Messiah. We simply know someday "all Israel will be saved" and we have an opportunity to contribute toward that end.

As I meet Israelis from all different backgrounds, I am amazed at their openness to talk about Yeshua and the Bible. Of course, not everyone is open. But with anti-Semitism on the rise across the globe, there is no better time to begin than now. Will you join Life in Messiah in prayer, evangelism and other acts of love toward Israel and Jewish communities around the globe? The task will be easier if we all till and plant together. Ask God how He wants to use you to reach His people, the “apple of His eye” (Zech. 2:8).

There might be rain on the horizon.

Written by: Life in Messiah staff member in Israel