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Tuesday: Bringing in the Sheaves — 9 Comments

  1. Most of the world's agrarian cultures had harvest festivals to celebrate the completion of the harvest. That is somewhat lost in our modern air-conditioned society where we buy our food all year round, thanks to snap-freezing, pasteurisation, canning, and so on.

    Most of you know by now that I grew up on a farm and I have a whole host of memories of what harvesting was like. Our summers were filled with haymaking. In New Zealand it was like playing a game of chance with the weather. We needed 4 fine sunny days in a row to cut, dry and stack the hay. (damp hay either rots or catches fire. (I won't explain that this time because it's not part of the story.) We used to cut the hay with a tractor mower, turn it once a day with a hay turner, and then gather the hay and stack it in haystacks - the old-fashioned way - with pitchforks. Hay stacking was a full family affair and involved the neighbours as well. We would work from dawn-milking to evening-milking, to get the job done. Haymaking coincided with summer holiday time, so we kids never had summer holidays. And in New Zealand, it also coincided with the Christmas season. December 25 was not a holiday if there was hay to be brought in. I remember that we had Christmas (read, large happy family gathering and not a religious festival) on January 16 one year because haymaking was in progress.

    The hymn "Bringing in the Sheaves" comes to mind when I think of haymaking. The fact that the family and community worked together so well to share the load reminds me that when we work together in the spiritual domain we can be used by God to share the harvesting. There is a special blessing that comes from working together as a community of believers.

    It is worth mentioning that the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) was essentially a harvest festival. The Israelites were asked to set aside a third "tithe" for this and they could buy anything they liked with it and share it with the Levites, the needy, and the strangers within the land. It was not just given as a gift but as an invitation to share in the festivities. It was a time of celebrating the end of the harvest by sharing some of the joy with others. The intent of that festival should not be forgotten by modern Christians.

    • Maurice Ashton, I love to read what you post. But I have a question about "The Feast of Tabernacles, (Sukkot) as you mentioned, indicating that it was a "Harvest Festival." So then what was the Feast of "First Fruits," that was celebrated during around the first month of the year, and during the "Feast of the Passover?" Was that not also a "Harvest Feast too?" And how did you and your family in New Zealand celebrate this one?

      • There are seven Jewish feasts spread throughout the year. Mainly they were set as reminders of God's leading in the past, but also they were more than just religious observance and were opportunities for establishing national identity and for including the poor and needy. I am currently reading through some of the minor prophets and one of the themes that comes through is that the Isrealites had forgotten the sharing bit and were being selfish. So much so that They some pretty terrible things about feasting and Sabbath-keeping. They had either abandoned them or the sharing principle.

        So, how did we celebrate the other feasts. Ask my Dad and Mum what happened to most of the fruit in their orchard in their retirement years. They were given away, or sold for a low price to anyone who needed a bit of fruit.

        • Thanks, Maurice, for your answer. From what I have studied in Leviticus, there is only "One Feast" that is spread out throughout the year on a "Once a week basis" namely the Seventh day of the week "The Sabbath." The other six Feasts are only celebrated like this: The Passover at the start of the year on the first month and the "First Fruits" and "Unleavened Bread" are celebrated around "The Passover" on the first month of the year. Then, six months later comes "The Day of Atonement," and around that one and on the sixth month also "The Feast of Tabernacles" and "The Feast of Trumpets" are celebrated then. So those six plus the Sabbath, are the "Seven Feasts" total but only "The Sabbath" was celebrated throughout the year on a once a week basis. So, apparently, there were 2 Harvest Feasts: one on the first month of the year "First Fruits," and and the second one must have been the "Feast of Tabernacles on the sixth month of the year. What is also interesting to me is how there was no "End of the year" celebration of anything.

          • Hello Pete, I wanted to share with you the beauty of God's seven feast days that are referred to as: "...these are MY feasts" in Lev.23:2. The reason these feasts are identified as "Feasts of the Lord" is because each specific feast identifies and points to the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. The first feast needs to start with the Sabbath because it identifies Him as the Creator as John 1:1-3 says. The Passover feast points to Him as the Bread and the Wine of the Passover Supper, which Jesus instituted in its observance by saying: "do this in remembrance of Me". The Feast of First Fruits points to Jesus' ministry, as the first fruit of the resurrection of the redeemed. Jesus is the first fruit and only One that died eternal death yet was resurrected. This is what the Feast of First Fruits symbolizes. The Feast of Weeks commemorates Jesus' ministry during the time of Pentecost. Lev.23:15-16 specifies the timing of 50 days; the Greek word for Pentecost means fiftieth; which relates to Jesus' after resurrection ministry of 40 days, and telling His disciples to wait 10 days and He will send them the Comforter (Holy Spirit) which occurred exactly on the day of Pentecost (the fiftieth day). The Feast of Trumpets represents the announcement of Jesus' heavenly temple ministry as High Priest. This High Priest ministry began in 1844 as the prophecy of Daniel mentions. The trumpets announce to the people to afflict their souls as the High Priest is beginning to officiate the Day of Atonement service. The Day of Atonement feast is next in line which coincides with Jesus' ministry of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary of sin in order to end His priestly ministry, leaving the sanctuary (grace ends) and putting on His Kingly attire and return for His people. The final feast, the Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles) is the ministry of Jesus taking the redeemed from the earth causing all the redeemed to tabernacle with Him in the clouds and in their return journey to His Holy kingdom, Mount Zion.

  2. I cannot boast about anything because I live totally under God's mercy. Although I might be going through challenging times, when I look back, I can solely say, "Thank You, Lord!." God has always been the source of my strength and desire to move on; troubles are blessings from heaven to put me in movement and change what I need. The joy of accomplishment always supplants the pain. God is good all the time!

  3. Yes it is a joy to see people we have come in contact with turn or return to Christ. However, as the author pointed out there is a waiting period involved, as with the harvest of grain there is a waiting time for the most part in our witness here on earth. We sow the seed. We may water it or someone else may water it to maturity.

    Not only waiting and watching, now, also letting the rich current of Christ love flow through our souls and out with our smiles, kindness, long suffering, loving, peace making, and here not to condemn but to be a conveyer of salvation, or if you prefer, spreading the gospel.

    Sitting at the feet of Jesus.

    Bless us oh our Saviour bless us.
    As we sit low at Thy feet( we're waiting).
    Oh look down in love upon us,
    Let us see Thy face so sweet.
    Give us Lord the mind of Jesus,
    Make us holy as He is,
    May we prove we've been with Jesus, who is all our righteousness. 🙏

  4. When reading Psalm 126 in my KJ Bible version, I found that it is part of 15 ‘Songs of degrees’. The ‘International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online’ features an interesting article by John Richard Sampey titled “Degrees, Songs of”. It features 4 interpretations regarding their use and sheds additional historical light on them.

    Personally, v.5 and 6 spoke to me the ‘loudest’. They remind me of my own experiences during my 'journey by faith' which showed me that, eventually, ‘those who sow in tears shall reap in joy’; those who ‘go forth weeping, bearing seeds for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with them.’

    I found that the Christian, in all his sorrows, “shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Sorrow and tears are found in those who love their God with all their heart." Metaphorically speaking, I understand their love for Him to become the fertile ground in which their 'seeds of sorrow’ will 'bring forth the sheaves'.

    Difficult encounters along our pilgrimage, tears born of the love of God and shed along the way, become the fertile ground from which our heavenly Father, by His marvelous Grace, brings forth the ‘sheaves’. The seeds, planted and sown by faith in God's merciful ground of His Providence, become the sheaves we bring with us at the end of our journey.

  5. Thank you Brother Maurice for this excellent example of "Brining in the Sheaves
    With "Making Hay".
    I was reminded of an American saying, "making hay while the sun shines";
    Which means to take advantage of the opportunity window presents itself, before it closes. How fitting it is that the process of making hay involves not only work, but also waiting for sun to work on the cut grass to make it into hay. It's a collaborative work, Is there a more fitting description of our work of letting the Holy Spirit " cut to the heart" with our story grace and salvation in Jesus, and then letting God's providence work on our friends and family into turn them into friends and family of God?


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