Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Current Study: A to Z
Today’s Topic: Yield
Today’s Scripture: Ezekiel 34:26-27 I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the LORD…
When I learned to drive a car, I was not living in Wisconsin. I remember distinctly the first time I was told to use an entrance ramp to get on to a freeway. The instructor reminded me of the merge rules we had studied in class. He said, “Use the ramp to accelerate to freeway speed while checking your mirrors for freeway traffic. Signal your intentions, and then merge into the flow of traffic.” There was even a sign at the end of the ramp that said “Merge”. Years later, after moving to Wisconsin, I noticed the signs on all the freeway entrance ramps said “Yield”. I still haven’t figured out the logic of that. I still get frustrated with the people who do it. I know – it’s my problem.
The word yield carries a negative connotation for me. It seems like most of the time, when we talk about yielding, it has to do with giving in to someone else. None of us really enjoys doing that. That attitude even carries over into our spiritual lives. For example, last Wednesday as I was teaching my Next Wave guys (That’s the leadership training course I teach at our church) we were talking about the importance of prayer. I had laid out for them the acrostic of the word pray and we were talking about each element of a powerful prayer life – Praise; Repent; Ask; Yield.
As we got to the last point, the emphasis was on surrendering to the will of God. It is accurate and advisable to pray with such surrender, as Jesus did when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane on he night He was betrayed. Remember what He asked? “Father, if it is possible, don’t make me go through this.” But do you also remember how He finished His prayer? “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.” That’s yielding. That’s hard.
But this morning I thought about yielding from a different perspective. I guess I’ve been a city boy too long, because I had almost forgotten the other meaning of the word yield – to produce. In fact, of the 23 times the word yield is used in the New International Translation of the Bible, 19 times refer to the produce of crops rather than the surrender of self. It seems to me that I’ve been looking at yielding the wrong way.
Again, yielding to God in surrender is essential, but imagine how our prayer lives would change if we used both definitions of yield at the end of our prayers. How much blessing are we missing when we simply focus on what has become the negative attitude of surrender and forget to embrace the positive attitude of harvest? I am just a little bit excited about this. Every prayer we pray should end with the expectation that God is going to produce a bountiful harvest of glory as He accomplishes His will, and we get to share in the harvest.
Just look at what God said to us in Proverbs 8 – I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full.
Using those truths of God, maybe it’s time we start ending our prays with faith by saying, Lord, as I yield to your will, let the fruit of your life and your glory be yielded to me in abundance. Let’s begin praying with the expectation of God’s yield.