FINALLY, you may eat!
It seems like most things (all things?) take longer than I want. My backyard? Moving that mountain of dirt, from my backyard? Paying off college loans? The White Sox FINALLY having a winning team. All took longer - in some cases MUCH longer - than I wanted.
People coming back to church? Correcting that character flaw (one of many)? These things are taking a painfully long time.
What has taken or is taking longer than you want?
I can’t get over Leviticus 19:23-25
“When you enter the land and plant fruit trees, leave the fruit unharvested for the first three years and consider it forbidden. Do not eat it. In the fourth year the entire crop must be consecrated to the Lord as a celebration of praise. Finally, in the fifth year you may eat the fruit.”
The people of God are in the wilderness. Several years ago they were slaves in Egypt. They would have longed to plant and harvest their own trees and enjoy their own fruit in Egypt. Now, they are in the wilderness. They are in process. They are in the middle. Stuck somewhere between the misery of slavery and enjoying the promised land.
God is giving them instruction on how to farm the land when they get in to that promised land. Notice the painfully long process. Plant. Wait. Tend the plant. Wait. For three years. It doesn’t matter how excited you are about the fruit. Wait. Doesn’t matter how delicious it looks. Wait.
The fourth year, ALL - not some, not most, ALL - the fruit from the tree you planted in the long awaited promised land should be given as an offering of praise to God. A way of saying thanks! Thanks for freedom. Thanks for this land. Thanks for making things grow and providing.
Year five? FINALLY! Enjoy! Eat hardy!
Wow. That took a LOT longer than they probably wanted. I suddenly feel like my long processes are in good company.
Now, Leviticus 19 is not formulaic but it tells me somethings about the character of God. Like: He isn’t in a hurry, like I am. He enjoys the process. He’s in control. He will produce amazing things…on a different timeline than me.
As I consider fruits of the Spirit that I seem to lack right now (Peace, Joy)? I can be patient.
As I wonder about Resurrection and our rebuilding process? I can be patient.
As I think about those character flaws and how Jesus is changing me? I can be patient!
Today, I celebrate that “The Lord is a God who shows mercy and is kind. The Lord doesn’t become angry quickly. The Lord has great love and faithfulness.” (Exodus 34:6)
Yeh, I can wait.