(August 27) The Blessing of Preparation

"The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing." Proverbs 20:4


Years ago my doctor wanted me to have an MRI. I am fairly claustrophobic and was not looking forward to being confined to "the tube" at all. After fretting the entire evening before, I arrived at the office to have it done. The lady running the machine, seeing I was obviously nervous, said something like, "There's medicine that will help you not be so anxious on an occasion like this." I excitedly replied, "Yes! I want it. Let's do that." Then, the hammer hit: "Well, we cannot do it now. You would have had to have already had it prescribed and taken it." NOT HELPFUL!


The lesson was that if I wanted the benefits of the medicine, I needed to have already done the work of getting the medication in my system before test day.


A student sits at his desk awaiting the test the teacher is soon to distribute. As soon as he receives it, he turns it over quickly glancing over the first few questions. At that moment, he truly wants to do well on the exam. Everything within him wants to excel. One problem...he did not study. At the moment, it does not really matter how badly he longs to make a good grade. The damage was done before the test was ever taken.


The lesson was that if he wanted the benefit of a good grade, he needed to have done the work of learning the material before test day.


Such is the lesson of Proverbs 20:4. The plowing needed to be done in the Autumn in order to have the grain harvest ready for reaping in the Spring. In Israel, if the farmer neglects his responsibility in the Fall, he can want desperately to reap the crop in April, but it will be to no avail. There is work to be done before the benefit is experienced.


How true this is in our spiritual lives. You must be in the Word before the storm hits. The time to be established in your day of testing is long before it actually comes. As you spend time in Bible study and prayer today, of course, there is benefit for you immediately. The good news, though, is that your time with the Lord now is making you stronger and more secure for whatever may come your way down the road. It is never only about the moment. God is always at work, and through His Word, He prepares us for what we will one day encounter.


The time to memorize Scripture is before the temptation strikes. The time to know the Bible is before someone asks you for wise counsel. Too many people neglect to prepare the field. Everyone wants to reap, but few are willing to plow the land and sow the crop.


Why not see to it that you spend time in Bible study and prayer this very day? Not only will you be blessed today, but you will find yourself ready for whatever comes your way.

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