Friday, November 2, 2012

The Cornfield: Death to Newness of Life



As you may have gathered, I sometimes have detailed and complex dreams. Recently, however, I awoke remembering not an intricate plot, but a single image.

I stood in a cornfield at sunrise, the warmth of the morning sun offset by a refreshing breeze rustling through the cornstalks. The air was perfumed with the cleansing scent after a light shower, enriched by the fertile soil and the earthy aroma of fresh corn.

I stood before a single corn plant and was struck by its beauty and majesty as it grew purposefully toward Heaven. Its emerald leaves were lined with countless tiny grooves, sparkling with dew like multifaceted crystals, reflecting prisms of light. Pearly white, and pale and bright gold, kernels peeked through the parted husks sheathing the pristine ear of corn. At the top of the ear, flaxen strands of cornsilk shone in the sun like a maiden’s blonde tresses.

This vision was hardly extraordinary – one that would be commonplace in the lives of many farmers – yet a miracle nonetheless. Such a lovely, vigorous, and nourishing plant could not have grown had it not been for death and rebirth. What began as a kernel of corn, dying and decaying in the earth to expose a single seed, had grown in the rich loam to become a tender shoot, then a young plant daring to emerge from its dark grave and face the sun. As it absorbed nutrients from the soil, life-giving rain water, and energy from the sun itself, it matured into a plant that was a delight to the senses, food for the body, and a reminder of spiritual truth.

Corn is not only a basic food commodity (Genesis 42:25) but a symbol of God’s provision. The perfect food of manna that God miraculously showered on the earth to feed the Israelites as they journeyed through the desert was described as “the corn of heaven (Psalm 78:24).

Corn is the first mentioned in a list of dietary blessings from God, even before wine, olive oil , bread, vineyards, and honey (Deuteronomy 7: 12; 18:4; Hosea 2:8; Joel 2:19;  2 Kings 18:32). Isaac’s blessing for his son is that “God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine (Genesis 27:26), and God Himself promised a similar blessing for the nation of Israel if they kept His commandments (Deuteronomy 33:28).

Because of the value of corn, it was fitting that God commanded His people to bring Him firstfruit offerings and tithes of corn from their harvest (Leviticus 2:14; Deuteronomy 18:4; Nehemiah 13:12).

In the book of Job, the man who joyfully accepts correction by and trials from God as a path to healing (Job 5:18-19) will “come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season (Job 5:26).

Throughout the Bible, giving corn is a way to feed others. For example, Joseph, who was a type or foreshadowing of Christ, provided for his once estranged brothers by loading their sacks with corn (Genesis 42:25).  Pharaoh’s dream, interpreted by Joseph, was of seven ears of corn symbolizing the wealth and productivity of Egypt: seven abundant years during which Joseph would supervise storage of corn and other staples to feed the people during the seven years of famine to follow (Genesis 41:5-7;49).

The tender story of Ruth and Boaz, which foreshadows Christ as our Redeemer and Sustainer, shows Boaz allowing Ruth to glean ears of corn from his field to feed herself and her mother-in-law Naomi (Ruth 2:2). Jesus Himself fed His disciples by allowing them to pick and eat corn from a field, even though it was the Sabbath day (Matthew 12:1; Mark 2:23; Luke 6:1)

One of the Mosaic laws also reminds us that laborers in the harvest should be blessed themselves by taking part in the fruits of that harvest: Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn (Deuteronomy 25:4). Paul explains the spiritual applications of this principle, namely, that laborers seeking to harvest souls for God’s kingdom will be rewarded (1 Timothy 5:18), and that He will bless those who spread the Gospel with the hope embodied in that Good News (1 Corinthians 9:9-11).

In the parable of the sower, Jesus illustrates how the seed of God’s Word only results in salvation when it is sown into the fertile soil of a heart receptive to Him and not entangled in worldly preoccupations. In that situation, however, the seed brings forth fruit, multiplied thirty to one hundred-fold (Mark 4:1-25).

Jesus explains that we can’t see or understand how a kernel of corn dies in the soil to transform into a fully ripe ear of corn on the stalk, each kernel capable of repeating the whole process (Mark 4:26-29). Similarly, we can’t understand the mystery of how His death resulted in the eternal life of all who repent of their sins and trust in His death, burial and resurrection as the only way to Heaven. Part of that mystery, however, is that we must die to our sin nature and to worldly cares (1 Corinthians 15:31) so that we can live forever as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), indwelled by the Holy Spirit to reach many other souls for Him.

John 12: 23 The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

Paul takes this analogy even further, explaining that when Christ calls believers to Himself at the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-53), our dead bodies will be raised as glorified, immortal bodies like those of the resurrected Christ Himself:

1 Corinthians 15: 36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain.… 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.

Praise God that while this dream of the cornfield was beautifully simple, it provided ample food for thought and reflection on His bounteous provision of physical sustenance, spiritual blessings, and everlasting life! May we plant the good seed of His Word in our heart and sow it to others, that we may all be transformed from the defeat of death to the victory of eternal life in Christ!



© 2012 Laurie Collett





57 comments:

  1. Wonderful post! Happy, blessed weekend to you.

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  2. Thanks so much, Joyful! May you have a blessed week in Him!
    Laurie

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  3. awesome word from the Lord! I just love when He speaks to us in our dream life...thank you for sharing...blessings, Nicole

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    1. Thanks so much, Nicole, for your sweet comment! Blessings to you also!
      Laurie

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  4. Dear Laurie,
    Once again, thank you for posting such a thought-provoking article.
    Concerning the Parable of the Sower, this was something I had been thinking of during recent weeks. We would both agree that the footpath picture the hard-hearted who have rejected the Gospel after hearing it, in turn we also agree that the good soil represents the heart which receives the gospel and believes, resulting in salvation as shown by the 30/100-fold crop it produces.
    But the other two in between, both receive the Word with gladness, Jesus says, but one does not allow the roots to penetrate deep down while the other allows his love for worldly things to choke out the young shoots.
    My issue is this: Jesus had also said that whoever hears his word and believes on him who sent him will not come into condemnation but is passed from death to life (John 3:18;5:24). So for one who had received the word with joy must have some faith to allow himself to be glad over it. As on this basis, I do believe that there are many of the rocky ground and of the ground yielding weeds who are genuinely saved, as it is the grace of God who does the saving.
    I say this because all I have to do is look into my own life and I can see areas of rock and patches of weed. In other words, I can lose faith when things go wrong and I can focus on earthly things when they are appealing.
    I personally believe that the grace of God is wide enough, high enough, deep enough and low enough to atone for all levels of believers. Only those who deliberately reject the Gospel is the grace of God not able to atone.
    An excellent post about the corn and the need for the seed to die before a new life sprouts up.
    God bless,
    Frank.

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    1. Dear Frank,
      Thank you so much for your kind words and for your thought-provoking comment. I agree that the parable of the sower (Mark 4) is a difficult passage in some respects, particularly regarding the seed sown on stony ground (v. 5-6 & 16-17) and amongst the thorns (v. 7 & 18-19). I also agree that once a person is truly born again, by repenting of their sins and placing their faith in the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus as the only way to Heaven, that they cannot lose their salvation.

      The question is, were those in whom the seed fell on rocky or thorny soil truly saved? I set about to try to address this question in detail, and then decided that it really merits a more thorough discussion than can be addressed properly in the response to a comment.

      So thanks, Frank, for inspiring my next blog post! God willing, I'll post it next week, and I hope you'll return once again to comment!

      God bless,
      Laurie

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  5. Jesus death and resurrection may be a mystery, but what a change it made in my life! The seeds of His Word continue to sprout in my life. Excellent, Laurie.

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    1. Amen, Pamela! We weren't there when He created the universe, but we can know firsthand the miracle of how placing our faith in His death, burial and resurrection made us a new creation in Him!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  6. Thankfully we don't have to understand all the details to receive the benefit. We just have to believe what God said.

    I believe the key to understanding the difference between the seed which fell on rocks and that among thorns is found in the statement that the seed on the rocks had no root. It sprouted but never produced a plant.

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    1. Amen, dfish! Now we see as through a glass darkly, and we won't understand everything until we see Him in glory.

      But I agree with you about the importance of the seed on the rocks having no root. More to follow in my next post!

      God bless,
      Laurie

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  7. God-seed: Truly a mystery; truly life-giving! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Amen, Julie! Praise God for His unspeakable gift.
      Thanks for your visit & comment, & God bless,
      Laurie

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  8. Hi Laurie,
    You had a wonderful dream and as a result was able to share this very inspirational post. I found it very interesting and enlightening. Take care and God Bless.
    Judy

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    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Judy! You are a blessing!
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  9. I enjoyed reading this! New follower from the mingle, would love a follow back.

    http://cumminslife.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks, Kathryn, for your comment & for following! I'm following you back!
      Blessings,
      Laurie

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  10. Laurie--when I read the title of this post I was reminded of the John 12:24 scripture.....and of course, it's there. Such 'hard sayings' Jesus had for us--but we must die in order to live. It's a backwards, God-wards life.

    The old 'Victory Seeds' poster photo is very cool, btw.

    Great post.

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    1. Amen, Jody Lee! His hard sayings are the words of eternal life! Glad you like the poster, too -- I thought it was highly appropriate for this post!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  11. Thanks so much for inviting me over! I am a new follower as well!
    Jill

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    1. You're very welcome, Jill, & thanks for following!
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  12. So awesome.Oh my, I didn't give corn a thought until I read your teaching.
    Amazing how God can give wisdom and revelation from a dream. I belive because you are listening with your heart, soul and spirit.

    Droppimng by from " Tell me a story"
    Mye entry is from:willyouhearfromme.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Joy, for your encouraging comment! I appreciate your uplifting words.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  13. Jesus told, that He is the bread of life. Jewish leaders knew Scripture, but they were blind, because they read it without Spirit. Today is the same: a lot of people see only letter, not Spirit. And our reading of Bible in the Spirit should be our spiritual meal - but without Christ it is impossible. Greetings and blessings to You :)

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    1. Excellent point, Zim -- only the Holy Spirit of Christ can teach us the Scriptures, which is why it makes no sense to argue about Bible verses with those who are not saved. Thanks for your thought-provoking comment, and God bless you!
      Laurie

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  14. I also dream a lot and when I saw "cornfield" I immediately got homesick for Nebraska :) It is a wonderful how God provides everything - He fills our spirits with His knowledge if we only ask. Bless you for a thought provoking post :)

    http://thejoyfulservant.com

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    1. Amen, Ms. Kathleen! He provides us with all we need, according to His riches in glory, and He liberally gives wisdom to all who ask Him.

      Nebraska must have a unique beauty -- I've never been there. Thanks as always for your sweet comment, and God bless!

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  15. Living in Iowa I'm in the middle of a field of corn, i didn't realize what a blessing this was, I'm surrounded by God's goodness and faithfullnes. Thank you for another thought provoking post.

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    1. That's awesome, Alecia! God's provision and unfailing grace does surround us, no matter where we go. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, and blessings to you!
      Laurie

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  17. Beautifully written and so thought-provoking. Hello..I'm your neighbour over at the link up at Leaving a Legacy and, believe it or not..your almost neighbour at Beautiful Thursdays! God's provision...I actually wrote about that myself. He is so faithful to pour out His blessings, even in desperate situations we can see His hand.

    God bless you and yours!

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    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Lisa Marie! Amen and Amen to God's abundant provision & faithfulness.
      Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  18. Quite an interesting post. I'm sure it's a wonderful thing He's trying to tell you.

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  19. Thank you for sharing your dream at Tell me a Story. I love the way you brought the corn into a study of interest. It certainly is a staple to enjoy both for our diet and for spiritual truth.

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    1. You're very welcome, and thanks for your kind comment & for hosting!
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  20. I really appreciate people who are out there sharing the Gospel with others. I have been the VBS director at our church for the last 3 years. I feel like I am a "sower of seeds" by doing that. I watch every year to see if any of the seeds I have planted are starting to sprout. Really makes you feel good to be able to share Jesus with others, especially children. I have never been very good talking to someone one-on-one. But, when it comes to VBS, I really try to make sure that there is the emphasis put on Jesus and why He died for us and not just cool decorations, good snacks, crafts, etc. Happy Friendship Friday to you and God bless you!!!

    Melanie
    melaniescrazylife.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, Melanie, for your visit & comment! Your work with children is so important, because most people who are saved become saved when they are very young. May God bless you for sharing Jesus with the little ones, and may the seeds you are planting grow and bear fruit!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  21. Beautiful Laurie!
    Thanks for sharing with my NO RULES Weekend Blog Party :))

    Paula
    lifeasweknowitbypaula.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, Paula, for your kind comment & for hosting!
      Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  22. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop. Wishing you a happy weekend. xo

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    1. You're very welcome, Katherine, & thanks for hosting! May you have a blessed weekend too!
      Laurie

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  23. Great post!
    -Melanie

    P.S. I’m doing a $50 Shabby Apple giveaway on my blog. You should check it out here: http://meandmr.com/post/35113285949/shabby-apple-50-giveaway

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    1. Thanks, Nasir, for your visit and kind comment!
      Blessings,
      Laurie

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  25. Your reflections are always so rich in meaning! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Nicole, for your encouraging words!
      May you have a blessed week in Him!
      Laurie

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  26. Hi new to your blog I'm from the weekend blog walk. I'm looking forward to your posts. I hope you have chance to stop by my blog I'd appreciate it :-)

    http://chandodaddy.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Welcome, James! Thanks for your visit & kind comment! I'm headed over to your blog now!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  27. i am just learning to take more seriously my dreams as a way to see deeper into my heart, bigger plans and visions. this was great to read of what yours tell you!

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    1. Thanks, Tara, for visiting & commenting! I'm glad you enjoyed the post!
      Have a blessed week in Him!
      Laurie

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  28. Wow, again you are able to take your dreams and use them to spread God's word. Thanks for linking up with the prairies this week.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle, for hosting & for your comment!
      Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  29. featured ya today!
    http://passionateandcreativehomemaking.blogspot.com/2012/11/beautiful-thursdays-linkup.html

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  30. I'm blessed and honored, Angell! I'm headed over to your blog now to grab the featured button! Thanks so much for the feature and for hosting such a wonderful community.
    God bless,
    Laurie

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