"You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, or all the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard will become defiled. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together." (Deuteronomy 22:9-11)As I write this, I am wearing clothes that are made of a cotton blend and, even in light of this scripture, I feel no guilt or condemnation. This injunction of scripture has less to do with seeds, plowing, and clothing than it does with teaching us to live a life of purity. God was trying to teach His people that mixture in their lives would defile and diminish them. The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of purity and those who live it should live pure lives of devotion and fidelity to God. God, in this scripture, identifies three areas in our lives where we should seek to live in purity.
Sowing: The scripture often depicts the Word of God as seed. "Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God." (Luke 8:11) "for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God." (1 Peter 1:23) The seed is God's word and the soil is our heart. God warns us about sowing different kinds of seed into our heart; the seed of God, being His word, and the seed of the world, being the lies and deception of this present evil age. Christianity is not an eclectic religion, where we are free to pick and choose from various beliefs, philosophies, and faiths; building a religion that "fits" us. Rather, we are called to live by the Word of God; to build our lives upon His word and live as if we really believe it to be true. When we live our lives by His word, His truth sets us free. Everything else is a precipitous slope into slavery. "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
Plowing: Sometimes we fall into the trap of trying to "help" God. We try to help God achieve His purpose by applying our own wisdom, strength, and ability. We often start out in the Spirit but end up in the flesh. Paul warns us against decreasing in our dependence on God and increasing in our reliance upon ourselves. "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:3) The truth is that we cannot live in the Kingdom of God by our own strength. We can only live by the power and grace that God so richly supplies to us. Through Christ we can do all things, but through ourselves we only fail. There was an occasion where Peter exhibited this mixture of Spirit and flesh in his walk before God. Paul rebuked Peter to his face. "But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, 'If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified." (Galatians 2:9-11)
Clothing: In revelations, clothes are a figure of our behavior, specifically, our righteousness. "It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints." (Revelation 19:8) During the captivity of Israel, the king of Assyria settles some of the captives of the nations into Samaria. These people worshiped their pagan Gods. Therefore God sent among them lions to judge them. "At the beginning of their living there, they did not fear the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them which killed some of them." (2 Kings 17:25) So the people petitioned the king of Assyria and he sent them some of the priests that had been taken captive from Israel to live in Samaria and to teach them God's ways. However, while they served God, they continued to serve their idols. "They feared the Lord and served their own gods according to the custom of the nations from among whom they had been carried away into exile." (2 Kings 17:33) Our worship of God cannot be halfhearted. We cannot serve God and the world at the same time. Jesus warned us of this when He said, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." (Matthew 6:24)
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