In the book of Isaiah, chapter 28 and verse 13, we read, “But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, and there a little, that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”
Isaiah is prophesying God’s judgement against Israel who is about to lose out on the rest and refreshment they might have had had they listened. But they would not hear. God tells them that His warning didn’t come to them all at once but little by little by little. He gave them time but because they didn’t heed, that time brought them destruction, little by little.
What a powerful and reassuring lesson we can learn from this simple illustration: the change we seek is a process not an event. The translators of this text even illustrate the symbiotic process of change with strategically placed commas that help emphasise units of time. Praise God!
Moving from turnips to onions
Imagine a farmer farms turnips but wants to move into onions. If he just stops farming turnips he will suffer lack between now and the time it will take for the onions to come through. He knows he cannot simply stop farming turnips so he gives over a portion of the land to growing onions. Just a portion. Perhaps he gives 80 per cent of the land for growing turnips and 20 per cent for onions. He sows the onion seed and waters them while continuing to farm turnips.
As the onions begin to harvest he can gradually increase the percentage of land given to onions to 25 or 30 per cent with the corresponding reduction given to turnip framing.
Precept by precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little he eventually finds himself in a place where onion farming takes up a hundred per cent of the land.
Hey presto, he’s an onion farmer!
We too can start by giving over a small portion of our time or energy to the steps that will take us from here to there – but, one word of caution: we must be consistent.
If the farmer plants the onion seed and waters them some days but neglects to do so on others, what would happen to those seeds? They would either take long to grow, never grow or grow deformed. Consequently, you may forget what you began, neglect to water it and then become discouraged that nothing is happening. We must be consistent and look after our onions.
That may be a simple illustration but we do the equivalent of this all the time. Yes, we do. That’s why our dreams, visions and desires take longer to materialise than they should. God’s timing is a factor, but that’s not what I am talking about here. I am talking about those things that He has already given you the licence to do and that you aren’t doing.
Well, go look after your onions. Your vision will come good eventually.