For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. Hebrews 6:8
Would you take a minute and read this scripture several times, ever so slowly? Get past the wordiness in order to achieve some kind of familiarity because what follows won’t be of any benefit without tying it into this verse from Hebrews. Now take a deep breath. Let’s jump in.
This scripture is not about believers and unbelievers. The book of Hebrews was written to believers and this verse describes two children of God who are walking differently from one another. They are in polarity. One receives the rains of God’s Spirit, lets it soak in, and is so fruitful that he receives a blessing from His Father.
The other child of God allows thorns and thistles to overtake his life. The weeds (which are sins left to metastasize over time) have taken over his garden to such an extent that he is long past fruitful. Nothing has been cultivated for some time and the soil has passed fertility. The only thing to do now is burn it and start over. God brings about the fires of judgement. Extreme adversity causes that believer to look up, repent, and return to communion with His Father. Fruitfulness follows.
This journey from obedience, into waywardness, and then back to obedience is seen over and over again in the life of Israel. How stunning was their prosperity while under God’s favor. But then began their slow descent of disobedience into judgement. Along the way, and in His mercy, God’s Spirit called them to turn back and repent. The more their landscape was ravaged by weeds however, the less they heard Him, and the less they cared that His voice was out of range.
Adversity was brought about by the hand of God. It was a merciful adversity, a burning that became a shaping agent in their sanctification. The judgement caused them to turn back. Their hard hearts were melted by the heat, then by love and mercy, and repentance was once again on their lips.
You will do anything possible to cause Your children to return to You. Your heavy hand, working behind the fires of captivity, wields the scepter of love. Through the fire and the smoke, I once discovered the blessing of adversity. Amen