“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD,
“When the ploughman shall overtake the reaper,
And the treader of grapes him who sows seed;
The mountains shall drip with sweet wine,
And all the hills shall flow with it.” (Amos 9:13)
The New Testament gives us a clear picture of what is meant spiritually by sowing and reaping. The word of God is sown through teaching and preaching, and the harvest is reaped when those hearts where they were sown accept Christ. Much of the ministry of the Church hinges on the activities of sowing and reaping, of teaching and evangelism.
But God is preparing us for another, and greater harvest. Although sowing and reaping will carry on, the work of preparing for the coming harvest will overtake the work of the current one. The apostolic and the prophetic will run ahead of the teacher and the evangelist, ploughing the land and treading the grapes. Ploughing the land and treading the grapes have this in common: they break through the surface layers and break up structures. The plough breaks up the soil; treading breaks down the grapes. I believe the Lord wants to break up our well-trodden paths and move below the skins of our relationships. Even as the devil seeks to use lockdown to keep us apart, the Lord will work in our lives to bring us together and move us towards true Unity of the Spirit.
I believe the Lord would say: “Why is the soil hard? Because you have walked in the same places for so long that the soil is trampled down; the seeds of the Word do not take root and the birds of the air devour them. So I am sending out the ploughman to break up the ground again, so my seeds can take root and grow.
And why is the wine not flowing? Because you hold and treasure your clusters of grapes instead of letting the juice flow from them, and you are content with superficial relationships in which people remain separate and isolated within their own protective skins, instead of truly giving themselves to one another. So I am sending out those who will tread on the traditions, the forms and the routines that you hold onto, and they will break them down so that the life of My Spirit can be released in your worship. And I will move in your relationships and break through those defensive skins that keep you apart; and as I am in the Father and the Father is in me, you, too, will become perfect in one, and the world will see your love and will know that you are my disciples. The world does not want your well-trodden paths, but it will seek out the life that it sees growing when the plough has broken them up. The world does not see your clusters, but it will see your love when the grapes are trodden and the wine is flowing.”
Before the harvest comes the plough, and before the new wine comes the treading. When this time comes many will feel they have nowhere to stand and nothing to hold onto; but the Lord says “Stand on my Word, and hold onto Me. Do not resist the breaking, and receive those who appear to tread on things that you would preserve, because when the work of preparation is done those who sow will again see fruit; ten, twenty and a hundredfold; and those who reap will not have barns big enough for the harvest.”