The Harvest is Already in the Ground

person walking through field, in a season of harvest

The Harvest is Already in the Ground

I talk a lot in the book about partnering with God. That starts with listening to Him, talking to Him, building an ongoing intimate relationship with Him. I gave some practical examples in the book for how that works in a business context.  One of the ways the Lord leads me personally is by giving me a season. I’m a big picture guy, so He gives me a big picture that helps me navigate various situations.  Since this all starts with a personal relationship,  that’s going to look a little different for each of you reading this.  In my case, over the last few years, His guidance has been that we’re in an Isaiah 37:30-32 season.

The situation is still unfolding, but here’s the context. About three years ago (even before COVID started in earnest), everything was going great. All our contracts were expanding. Then suddenly it all imploded – all of our contracts were cutting back or drying up, and all for different reasons, but none of them performance related. We couldn’t even see the enemy, but it sure felt like we were under siege.

I’d like to tell you with all my years of experience as a battle-hardened executive who’d been here before, I knew exactly what to do.  But of course – I didn’t. There were many sleepless nights. When I did manage to drift off to sleep, I’d wake up wondering how much longer we’d be in business. I could literally feel the fear trying to gain a foothold.  That’s part of what confirmed for me that we were in a spiritual battle, which helped me to better orient my prayers, beyond a simple, anguished “HELP!”

I wish the first time I sensed the Lord telling me to look at King Hezekiah, I jumped on it. Unfortunately, He had to tell me a few times. Eventually , though, I got it, and dug in. Various accounts of King Hezekiah’s reign appear in three different books of the Bible.  The first thing that struck me was that in 2 Chronicles 31:21, scripture notes, “In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.” And in the very next verse, “King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified towns …”  That reminded me of our modern day phrase “no good deed goes left unpunished,” which was pretty much the way I was feeling, though I knew that was a trap. If you’re in a spiritual battle, you don’t fight back from the posture of a victim, you fight back from the posture of a victor. And in this case, I knew gratitude and generosity were two key weapons.  (You can read more about all that in AWAIH Chapters 20 and 21.)

While that part of the story was interesting (or unsettling), with more prayer and study, it was the account in Isaiah that really stood out. More specifically, I knew the Lord was highlighting Isaiah 37:30-32.  Isaiah delivers a word the Lord has spoken against enemy King Sennacherib in verses 22-30; then after the nuggets in verses 30-32, goes on in verses 33-35 to prophesy the Lord’s protection over Jerusalem. Now Hezekiah would actually see the manifest reality of that prophecy the very next day!  He’d witness the 185,000 dead soldiers and King Sennacherib packing up and going home. You’d think that would be pretty good corroboration of Isaiah’s word. But what is really interesting is that Isaiah says “HERE is the proof that what I say is true” and he describes the season ahead for Hezekiah and Judah. Not the immediate miraculous deliverance you’ll see tomorrow, but the restoration that you’ll see in the season ahead.

And I knew the Lord was giving me the big picture – the season that we too were in.  That (paraphrased) “this year, we too will eat only what grows up by itself,  and next year we will eat what springs up from that; but in the third year we will plant crops and harvest them, we will tend vineyards and eat their fruit.”   As I was continuing to pray through just how that applied to us, later in the week maybe, my friend Michelle called, felt like she had a word from the Lord for us. She didn’t know I was already chewing on Isaiah 37:30 – but she felt the Lord was saying to us that “the harvest is already in the ground.” He reminded her that in her youth, her parents had planted a zucchini plant just one year in their garden – and never planted another one. But year after year, they’d continue to get zucchinis, as it reseeded itself year after year. (Yep, when I first planted a garden, I made the rookie mistake of planting half dozen of them. I think you know what happened!).

I shared with my little Kingdom-business prayer group what I was learning, that even though we were going through a lean period, the Lord was showing me that we were in an Isaiah 37:30 season, and “the harvest is already in the ground” and that’s what I was trusting. (At the very least, I was sleeping again.) It really resonated with the group, they felt like it was for them too. Sure enough, week after week, as we’d meet, one of us would often bring in a testimony of how an existing contract was extended, or how a prospect we’d spent much time on – but had long since faded away – called out of the blue wanting to purchase. We were collectively experiencing it – the harvest was already in the ground – and able to further encourage each other in it.

The more I continued to pray into the verses over the coming months, the more God revealed the richer and broader application of the verses than I had first grasped. While I’m sure the enemy was intending the “siege” period for evil – God was using it for good. It had forced us to re-evaluate our business model, realize that our legacy business had gotten us here, but wouldn’t get us where we needed to go, and the “siege” period became our opportunity to start the transition into our new model. As it would turn out, Hezekiah’s “third year” was actually a description of our new business model!

There’s more to this, of course, but I hope you see the practical benefits of partnering with God. How just this one thing, this revelation of the season we’re in, has been invaluable in navigating a really difficult period. For one thing, it’s given us a real confidence in the big decisions (and big investments) we’ve made to transition into a new business model. These decisions would feel crazy risky if we were making them alone, but He’s already assured us we’re well aligned with His plans.  Likewise, it kept me (and the company) focused on gratitude and generosity to effectively navigate the lean season. And saved me a lot of sleepless nights, too.

It’s been a long journey, but it seems, if I have the time table right, we’re well into the third year on the Isaiah 37:30 timeline. We’re definitely feeling the momentum in Yakabod 2.0, can see the crops growing and the vineyards maturing. Soon should be the harvest. And now we’re trusting the “passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make it happen!”

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