Back in the Weeds

I’m still stuck in the weeds today – not literally. I’m thinking figuratively and spiritually. I love a good metaphor.

Last Saturday’s blog post took you to my weedy backyard, where I had the guts to show you the messy places where I have let the weeds take over. I confessed I don’t tend to much in the yard during the hottest months of the year.

I also pointed my finger at Eve and Adam, whose disobedience in the original garden caused, well… I’ll let God speak for Himself:

“…cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”   – Genesis 3: 17b-19

References to thorns and thistles and other weedy things are found throughout the scriptures. In preparation for this post, I got so many great insights that I need to write a proper Bible study on this subject. For now, I’ll stick with a few bullet points about Biblical references to these bothersome plants.

  • Usually, we should read it as unwanted vegetation in areas the farmer wants to grow food – simple, straightforward. The prophets frequently include them in their warnings of consequences of disobedience.
  • In other passages, they are metaphors for wicked, evil people. We see this in both testaments. (Num. 33:55; Josh. 23:13; Judges 2:3; 2 Sam. 23:6) This is one explanation for what Paul meant when he talked about his “thorn in the side,” if it’s used like the phrase in Judges.  Jesus uses this in his explanation of the Parable of the Weeds, which confirms the references in the Hebrew Scriptures.

“The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,”   – Matthew 13:38

  • Proverbs 22:5 seems to use thorns and weeds as a representation of sin in a person’s life. Jesus used the symbol this way in the Parable of the Sower, found in all three Synoptic Gospels.

“And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.”  – Luke 8:14

I wrote about experiencing this in a powerful way when I was in a college production of Godspell. You can click here to read the June 7 blog post and see the picture of me in that scene from 1975:

  • As part of the original curse, they will continue to be an annoyance until the curse is reversed after Messiah returns and restores everything to pristine, Edenic conditions.

We sing about this at Christmastime. The third verse of Isaac Watts’s “Joy to the World” says,

“No more let sin and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make His blessings flow  Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found, Far as, Far as the curse is found.”

For now, let’s be vigilant – more vigilant that I am in the garden. It’s easy to let sin take root in our lives, being seduced by the appeal it offers. How well I know this!

Is there any weeding you need to do in your spiritual life? When the Holy Spirit convicts us of something, it’s best to go ahead and confess it, then repent of it. Jesus hears, forgives, and sanctifies us to live holy lives in Him. Otherwise, sin grows like – a weed.

Shalom, Dottie

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