DO NOT BE DECEIVED,
GOD IS NOT MOCKED; FOR WHATEVER A MAN SOWS, THIS HE WILL ALSO REAP: Me
planasthe, (2PPPM) theos ou mukterizetai; (3SPPI) o gar ean speire
(3SPAI) anthropos, touto kai therisei; (3SFAI):
(not: Ga 6:3 Job 15:31 Jer 37:9 Ob 1:3 Lk 21:8 1Co 3:18 6:9 15:33
Eph 5:6 2Th 2:3 Jas 1:22,26 1Jn 1:8 3:7) (God : Job 13:8,9 Jude
1:18) (for: Job 4:8 Pr 1:31 6:14,19 11:18 Ho 8:7 10:12 Lk 16:25
Ro 2:6, 7, 8, 9, 10 2Co 9:6)
Robert Louis Stevenson said
it this way...
“Sooner or later
we all sit down
to a banquet of consequences.”
Lloyd Ogilvie writes
The Interpreter’s Bible refers to
this section as Paul’s call for Christians to engage in “the agriculture
of the Spirit.” That is a colorful and suggestive thought which aptly
describes what Paul is talking about. The law of the harvest is relevant
to our spiritual development and describes our destiny. A
well-known Baptist preacher, R. G. Lee, had a famous sermon he preached
hundreds of times, all over America, “Payday Someday.” (Read
sermon) The title alone is gripping and captures the truth.
(The Preacher's Commentary)
After speaking of walking by the
Spirit (Ga 5:16-note,
and describing what that looks like (Ga 5:19-note,
Paul then turns to the ministry of restoration (Gal 6:1ff)...
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in
any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of
gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be
= command to make this your continual practice) one another's burdens (Study
the "one anothers" - most positive, some negative),
and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives
4 But each one must
= command calling for continual "testing" to prove the worth of our
works in this area) his own work, and then he will have reason for
- Ga 5:26 Paul warned against becoming boastful) in regard to himself
alone, and not in regard to another.
5 For each one will bear his own load.
6 The one who is taught the word (logos
- Scripture in general, Gospel in particular) is to
all good things with the one who teaches him.
[word study]) is
placed first in the Greek text for emphasis and in the
is not a suggestion but a command to make this our continual practice.
As John Calvin put it how disgraceful is would be to "refuse an
earthly recompense to those from whom we receive heavenly benefits.
But it is, and always has been, the disposition of the world, freely to
bestow on the ministers of Satan every luxury, and hardly to supply
godly pastors with necessary food!" (Calvin's
Commentary) (Now that's a prophet, for Calvin didn't even
have cable television!)"
Henry Alford labels the
section beginning in Gal 6: 6 through Gal 6:10 as an
Exhortation (in pursuance of
the command in Gal 6:2), to liberality towards their teachers, and to
beneficence in general....From the mention of bearing one another's
burdens, he naturally passes to one way, and one case, in which those
burdens may be borne--viz. by relieving the necessities of their
ministers and then in (Ga 6:7) regarding our good deeds done for Christ
as a seed sown for eternity, he warns them not to be deceived: in this,
as in other seed-times, God’s order of things cannot be set at nought:
whatever we sow, that same shall we reap. God is not mocked: -- though
men in their own minds mock God, this mocking has no objective
existence: there is no such thing as mocking of God in reality (Ed:
(Galatians 6 New Testament
Commentary for English Readers)
It is not obvious how Gal 6:7 ties in
with the preceding section. Some commentators think Gal 6:7 ties
directly to Gal 6:6 and paraphrase it as "What, you hold back!
(from those who teach you the word) Nay, do not deceive yourselves.”
(Adapted from J B Lightfoot's paraphrase). The renowned expositor
John Eadie however feels this is too narrow and suggests the
following explanation that...
probably the warning (do not be
deceived...) has been suggested by the preceding context, and not
simply or solely by the previous verse, as there is no formal connecting
particle (Ed: Such as "for, because, therefore, hence, etc").
The paragraph treats of duties which spring out of love, the fruit of
the Spirit (Ed: Which would go back to Gal 5:22, Gal 5:23), and are
themselves forms of spiritual beneficence (Ed: that which
produces good such as performing acts of kindness and charity) or
well-doing,—duties, however, which one may be tempted to neglect, or
regard only in a negative aspect, so far as not to be acting in direct
opposition to them. One may let a fallen brother alone, but without
insulting him when he is down. One may refuse to bear another's burden,
but without adding to its weight (Gal 6:1). One may decline
communication in temporal things with a spiritual teacher, but without
inflicting on him a positive and harmful expenditure (Gal 6:6). Men may
in this way deceive themselves; or in some other form selfishness and
the world may so hold them in bondage, that they may be sowing to the
flesh. In passing from the more ideal to the more palpable forms of
Christian beneficence, the apostle throws in the awful warning of the
verse before us (Gal 6:7). (Commentary
on the Greek text of the epistle of Galatians - Online)
Do not be deceived
- Stop being led astray.
Stop "wandering off the path". While this warning often implies there
are false teachers (and there were in Galatia - cp Gal 3:1, 2, 3 - the
readers had been "bewitched" by Judaizers who advocated the necessity of
obedience to the Law, especially circumcision, in order to
"successfully" live the Christ life - even as men today try to impose
"rules" on others, ostensibly that they may be "free", when in fact such
legalism [whether subtle or overt] only brings one into bondage to Sin
and the flesh [cp "sinful passions aroused by the law" = Ro 7:5-note]!)
Eadie writes that...
The same abrupt warning is found in
1Co 6:9 as a sudden and earnest dissuasive from sinful practices which
exclude from heaven; in the same epistle, 1Co 15:33, as a guard against
Epicurean indulgence; and in Jas 1:16, where it is rendered, “Do not
err.” The warning implies a liability (Ed: susceptibility)
to deception or error: in this case the deception appears to be, that a
man may be sowing to the flesh, and yet be hoping to reap of the Spirit,
or that for him might be changed the unchangeable order which God has
ordained—“like seed, like harvest.” (Commentary
on the Greek text of the epistle of Galatians - Online)
Calvin comments on the
abrupt command to stop being
The design of this observation is to
reply to the dishonest excuses which are frequently pleaded. One alleges
that he has a family to support, and another asserts that he has no
superfluity of wealth to spend in liberality or profusion. The
consequence is, that, while such multitudes withhold their aid, the few
persons who do their duty are generally unable to contribute the
necessary support. These apologies Paul utterly rejects, for a reason
which the world little considers, that this transaction is with God. The
supply of a man’s bodily wants is not the sole question, but involves
the degree of our regard for Christ and his gospel. (Calvin's
C H Spurgeon...
I Find, on reference to Luther’s
Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, and to Calvin’s Commentary
on this passage, that both those learned expositors consider that this
refers to the treatment of ministers by their people in the matter of
their pecuniary support. They very properly point out the connection
between the 6th verse and the 7th: “Let him that, is taught in the Word
communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived;
God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also
reap.” I suppose that there was a need for such an injunction in Paul’s
day, and there is a need for it now. There were some hearers of the
gospel, then, who contributed generously towards the maintenance of the
preacher, and the apostle says that what they gave would be like sowing
good seed, in return for which God would give to them an abundant
harvest; but there were others who gave sparingly, and who would
therefore have a proportionately small return.
But I feel sure that the apostle had
a wider range than that, and that these words express a general
principle: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” So I
begin my discourse by reminding you that our present lives are of the
utmost possible importance for on these winged hours hang eternal
issues. Our present actions are not trifles, for they will decide our
everlasting destiny. Everything we do is, to some extent, a sowing of
which eternity will be the reaping. (Galatians 6:7: Sowing and Reaping)
Harry Ironside comments
It is a remarkable fact that it is in
this connection, what we might call the principle of “giving and
receiving,” (in Gal 6:6) that the Holy Spirit directs our attention most
solemnly to the kindred law of “sowing and reaping.”
It never pays to be forgetful of
He who acts for the present moment
only is like one who is indifferent to the coming harvest, and so either
thinks to save by sparse sowing, or else recklessly strews obnoxious
seeds in his field, sowing wild oats, as people say, and yet hopes to
reap a far different kind of harvest. We reap as we sow. This is
insisted on again and again in Scripture. Here we are told, “Be not
deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man sows that shall he
This is so self-evident that it
needs no emphasis. Yet how easily we forget it, and how readily we hope
that in some strange, unnatural transformation our sinful folly will be
so overruled as to produce the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
But whether it be in the case of the
unsaved worldling, or the failing Christian, the inexorable law will be
fulfilled—we reap what we sow. How important then that we walk carefully
before God, not permitting ourselves any license which is unbecoming in
one who professes to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ....Soon, at our
Lord’s return, we shall enter into life in all its fulness (glorified
bodies, absence of sin, presence of God), and then, at the judgment-seat
of Christ, we shall reap according to our sowing. They who live for God
now will receive rich reward in that day. And they who yield now to the
impulses of the flesh and are occupied with things that do not glorify
God will suffer loss (1Cor 3:12, 13, 14, 15). (Ironside, H. A.
Expository messages on the Epistle to the Galatians. 1943)
Marvin Vincent interprets
do not be deceived as follows...
The Galatians are not to think that
it is a matter of no consequence whether their fellowship be with their
Christian teachers who preach the word of truth, or with the Judaizing
innovators who would bring them under bondage to the law.
Do not be deceived
from plane which
describes "a wandering" and gives us our English word "planet") means
literally made to wander and so to go (active sense) or be led (passive
sense as of sheep in Mt 18:12-13) astray.
The use of the
with a negative
indicates that some were being deceived thinking they could sow and not
reap in kind.
Note also that planao is in
which indicates an outside force, in this case the
fallen flesh nature
which is still present, "lurking" in
believers. The fact that this is a continual command indicates that
there is the ever present
danger of deceiving ourselves.
In fact, we are deceiving ourselves if we think that we can sin with
impunity and will not reap a harvest of corruption. As an aside although
believers have a "new heart" (Ezek 36:26, 27, Jn 3:3,4,5), in a sense
they still possess a "deceitful heart" (Jer 17:9) because of the
presence of the fallen
flesh. (cp 1Pe
Paul issued two similar strong warnings regarding the danger
of deception to the church at
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the
kingdom of God? Do
not be deceived (present imperative
with a negative) neither
fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor
homosexuals, (1Co 6:9).
Comment: Tragically in our
day, there are false teachers who twist Paul's warning, undoubtedly
because they themselves are deceived (cp 2Ti 3:13-note).
They teach the lie that an individual can pray a prayer to "receive
Jesus" and then spend the rest of his or her life living like the devil!
This is exchanging the Truth of God for the lie of the devil (Jn 8:44)!
Paul is not saying that any men or women in this group cannot be saved
(in fact read context 1Co 6:11), or that believers cannot be tempted by
or occasionally fall into any of these sins. What Paul is saying is that
if one claims to have the Spirit of Christ within (Ro 8:9-note)
and continually manifest a lifestyle characterized by one or more of
these sins (cp Ro 8:13-note),
they will absolutely not come into God's Kingdom, but are destined to "pay
the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord
and from the glory of His power" (2Th 1:9). Remember that the best
(really only) antidote for deception is the Truth, specifically the
Truth of God's Word, and in this context it is the Truth that "the
unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God". "Reception" of and
"assimilation" of this Truth will effectively neutralize the poison of
the false teaching that one's lifestyle has no bearing on one's eternal
destiny. A godly lifestyle does not save you (only faith in Jesus saves
- Ep 2:8, 9-note,
Ro 10:9, 10-note),
but it does demonstrate that your faith is genuine and therefore you are
truly saved (Jas 2:14, 15, 16, 17-note,
Jas 2:18, 19, 20-note,
Do not be deceived (present imperative
with a negative):
"Bad company corrupts good morals." (1Co 15:33)
Comment: If one "sows" with
"corrupt" company, he himself will "reap" corruption. One deception here
would be to think "I'll just bring them up to my standards of morality!"
Wrong! They will inevitably bring you down. Obviously Paul is not saying
we should not minister to "bad company", but just that we should not
enter into their corrupt lifestyle. Jesus was holy and yet actually
spent time with some of the most unholy people of the day (tax
collectors, prostitutes, etc).
Henry Morris adds: This (1Co
15:33) might be paraphrased as a warning that false doctrine inevitably
leads to wicked behavior. Denying a future accounting to God (implicit
in denying the resurrection) leads to the philosophy of fatalistic
eating, drinking and merry-making. Denying creation in favor of
animalistic evolution leads to animalistic conduct, and so on.
Ryrie notes that the saying in
1Cor 15:33 "is a Greek proverb, first appearing in a play by Menander."
James also used this same
Do not be deceived (present imperative
with a negative),
my beloved brethren. (Jas 1:16)
Comment: The context is the
danger of sin and the fact that God does not tempt anyone to sin, but
gives good gifts. Each person is tempted by his own lusts.
MacArthur adds: Stop blaming
other people, circumstances, or Satan for your temptations and sins, he
is saying. Above all, do not blame God. Take full blame on yourselves,
where it belongs. Realize that your enemy—your fallenness, your lusts,
your weaknesses, your rationalizations, and your sins—are within and
have to be dealt with from within (Ed: By application of God's Word, His
Spirit, and His sufficient grace.)
- This signifies absolute negation. In other words even though men may
think they are "mocking" God, they cannot do so. God
absolutely cannot be fooled by spiritual pretenses.
A T Robertson explains God
is not mocked this way...
Paul means to say. In
particular, he means “an evasion of his laws which men think to
accomplish, but, in fact, cannot” (Burton).
from mukter = the nose, nostril) literally means to turn up one’s nose
and thus pictures the idea of
scorn. Hence mukterizo means to mock, deride, sneer at, ridicule, treat with
contempt. The derivative ekmukterizo means to sneer at.
Pollux quotes the word from
Lysias: in medicine it is used for bleeding at the nose (Alford)
Wuest notes that
when used rhetorically, referred to
the betrayal of covert ill-will and contempt by cynical gestures in
spite of fair words. It implies an outward avowal of respect neutralized
by an indirect expression of contempt. The thought which Paul wishes to
press home to the Galatians is that it is vain to think that one can
outwit God by reaping a harvest different from that which a person has
sown. The figure of sowing and reaping used for conduct and its results
is a frequent one. In the Greek classics we have, “For he that is
furnished the seed, is responsible for what grows.”
Eadie comments that
mukterizo in the context of Gal 6:7 signifies that...
God is not mocked, either in reality
or with impunity (Ellicott); there is no such thing as mocking God.
Wieseler takes the verb in the middle, “God will not suffer Himself to
be mocked”—non sinit sibi irrideri. The expression is a strong
one, taken from that organ of the face by which we express careless
contempt. Men may be imposed on by a show of virtue on the part of one
who all the while scorns their weakness, but God cannot be so mocked. (Commentary
on the Greek text of the epistle of Galatians - Online)
TDNTA records that
literally means “to suffer from
nose-bleeding,” takes on the sense “to turn up one’s nose.” It is thus a
common term for scorn in the
e.g., scorn of enemies in 2Ki 19:21, of the slothful in Pr 12:8, of
pagan gods in 1Ki 18:27. It is a sin when directed against God’s
messengers (2Chr. 36:16) or chastisements (Pr 1:30) or against parents
(Pr 15:5). The only NT instance is in Gal 6:7, where it is a term for
the mocking of God by a life that will not accept the lordship of the
Spirit (cf. Gal 5:25). The reference is not to verbal scoffing
but to despising God by a whole way of life. (Kittel,
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
Gal 6:7 is the only NT use of mukterizo
but there are 14 occurrences in the non-apocryphal
-- 1Kgs 18:27; 2Kgs 19:21; 2Chr 36:16; Ps 79:7; Pr 1:30
(spurned); Pr 11:12; 12:8; 15:5, 20; 23:9 (despise); Job 22:19; Is
37:22; Je 20:7; Ezek 8:17.
Proverbs 1:30 "They would not accept
my counsel, They spurned (Hebrew = naats = treat with contempt,
revile, scorn, reject; Lxx = mukterizo) all my reproof.
1Kings 18:27 It came about at noon,
that Elijah mocked them and said, "Call out with a loud voice, for he is
a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or
perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened."
2Kings 19:21 (Isaiah speaking to King
Hezekiah after the latter had prayed to God) "This is the word that the
LORD has spoken against him (Sennacherib who had threatened Hezekiah, eg
2Ki 18:34): 'She has despised you and mocked you, The virgin daughter of
Zion; She has shaken her head behind you, The daughter of Jerusalem!
(parallel passage = Isa 37:22)
2Chronicles 36:16 but they
(Judah and Jerusalem) continually mocked the messengers of God,
despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the
LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy (Judah's
intractable rebellion and rejection of Jehovah reaped Babylonian
Jeremiah 20:7 (Jeremiah speaking,
downcast because no one listens to his prophetic warnings) O LORD, You
have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me.
Charles Eade (1814–1884) is
responsible for the first version of the famous quote...
Sow an act, and you
reap a habit.
Sow a habit, and you reap a character.
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.
Here is the "amplified" version by
Sow a thought, and
you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.
WITH A THOUGHT!
I think Samuel Smiles' addition
("Sow a thought, and you reap an act") is vitally important to consider,
for indeed the law of sowing and reaping (whether the harvest is good or
bad) is set in motion by our thought life! Little wonder that in
Paul commands (present
the believers at Philippi to continually pursue "righteous
reckoning" ("dwell on" =
logizomai [word study])!
How is your thought life? What do
you think about? Are you in the Word of truth daily so that God's truth
might be in you, renewing your mind (2Co 4:16, Ep 4:23-note,
setting you free (Jn 8:31, 32, 36), washing you clean from the polluting
thoughts and images of our morally decaying society, transforming your
mind into conformity with the mind of Christ (1Co 2:16, Ro 12:2-note)?
If not, do not be
surprised when thoughts come into your mind (cp Ep 6:16-note)
that reap an evil act and may even "bloom" into an evil habit! Set a
guard continually at the doorway of your heart (Pr 4:23-note).
May our daily "obsession" be for the Savior's disposition, His thoughts
and His outlook, as we cry out, even in desperation,...
Lord of every
thought and action,
Lord to send and Lord to stay;
Lord in speaking, writing, giving,
Lord in all things to obey;
Lord of all there is of me,
Now and evermore to be. Amen
--E. H Swinstead
Or consider prayerfully singing
Kate Wilkinson's beautifully poignant old hymn
May the Mind of Christ, My Savior (play)...
May the mind of
Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.
May the Word of God
dwell richly (Col3:16-n)
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.
May the peace of
God my Father
Rule my life in everything, (Col3:15-n)
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.
May the love of Jesus fill me (Ep5:18-n)
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing, (Jn3:30-n)
This is victory.
May I run the race before me, (2Ti4:7-n)
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus (He12:2-n)
As I onward go.
May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.
For (gar) is
Whatever (whatsoever - KJV)
- This is one of God's "promises" that we may or may not like, depending
on how we are walking with the Lord. God's law of reaping and sowing is
universal and applies to all men, at all times and in all places without
impartiality and without exception. Believers are just as subject to
this law as unbelievers. There are no exclusions. If you sow little
lies, you will reap big lies and all the trouble that accompanies those
lies! When you sow evil, you reap evil. Don't fall for the lie that
"it's just a little sin" or "it's only a small compromise of my
integrity"! What you do today will inevitably impact what you are
tomorrow! Do not be deceived, for God is not mocked.
Tony Evans observes that...
It’s amazing how many people want to
plant unrighteousness, but expect God’s blessing. They want to plant
bad, but they want to harvest good. They want to sow seeds of wrong, but
gather a harvest of right. But that’s not how God’s system works.
There’s something you need to know about sowing. Once you sow whatever
you sow, it will grow naturally. The consequences of your sowing are
set. You don’t have to do anything extraordinary for growth to occur.
What you have sown will push up through the ground someday. It’s built
into the process. I hope you see the seriousness of this in relation to
something as vital as our love for Christ. (Returning to your
first love: Putting God back in first place. Chicago: Moody Press_
J R Miller (The
Seeds We Are Scattering) has a sobering thought worth
We are not done with life—when we
die! We shall meet our acts and words and influences again. "Do not be
deceived! God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows—he will also reap!"
Galatians 6:7. He shall reap the same that he sows—and he himself shall
be the reaper! We go on carelessly, never dreaming that we shall see our
seeds again, or have anything more to do with them. Then some day we
come upon an ugly plant growing somewhere; and when we ask, "What is
this vile plant?" The answer comes, "I am one of your plants. You
dropped the seed which grew into me!" We must beware what we do. We
shall have to eat the fruit—that grows from our sowing and planting!
There are many phases of this truth. Jesus said, "With what measure you
mete—it shall be measured to you again." A man who is cruel—reaps
cruelty. A man who is merciful—finds mercy. David unsheathed the sword
in wrong against a subject—and the sword departed not from his house
forever. He dishonored the happy home of another—and his own home was
dishonored. Paul was a persecutor—and persecution followed him until it
smote him to death.
The seed that we sow in others, sooner or later comes back again to our
own bosom. What we sow—that we reap!
We cannot sin against others, hurting them only—and receiving no hurt to
ourselves. We are not merely sowers of seed in other lives; but while we
are scattering the seed in the field of our neighbor, we are sowing also
in our own field. There are two harvests. He who corrupts another
life—makes his own life more corrupt than before. The tempter may cause
the fall and ruin of another soul—but the evil in himself has become
more evil in his doing so.
Every good thing we do,
strengthens the good that is in us;
and every wrong thing makes the wrong in us more dominant.
John Angell James writing
on Galatians 6:7 comments...
How clear and how impressive are such
statements, that our life is a seed-time for eternity; that all our
conduct is the seed sown, and that the harvest will be according to the
seed we sow—in kind, quality, and quantity. (John Angell James - excerpt
from his interesting sermon -
Different Degrees of Glory)
is used in a generic sense to refer to both men and women.
CAUSE and EFFECT
Actions have consequences. To
illustrate God's inviolable moral and ethical laws Paul draws from the
well-known law of horticulture that the planting of a specific seed will
reproduce its own kind and only its own kind. If we plant wheat, we will
harvest wheat, not potatoes! It follows that one determines the nature
of his or her spiritual harvest by the quality (and quantity) of the
seed sown. Our present life is the "seed time" presaging our eternal
harvest, the quality of which depends on present sowing.
Evil actions often contain the
"seeds" of own punishment and destruction within them, even as a seed
contains the elements that subsequently bring forth the fruit.
In light of the truth of the
consequences related to our sowing, Pastor Tony Evans gives us
some excellent advice...
WHEN it comes to living your life,
think agriculturally, not industrially. When it comes to living your
life, think like a farmer, not like a technocrat. When it comes to your
life, think gardens, not microwaves. (Evans, T. Tony Evans' book of
illustrations: Stories, quotes, and anecdotes from more than 30 years of
preaching and public speaking. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers)
Rob Salvato says the law of
reaping and sowing is immutable irregardless of whether we believe
it or not. He goes on to say that "Its like the guy who denied the law
of gravity - just didn't believe it applied to him and so he decided to
prove it. He climbed to the top of a twenty-story building and dove off.
His last words were heard as he sailed past a guy on the third floor,
"Hey, nothing's happened yet!" Paul says God is not mocked!" (Sermon)
Max Anders (Holman New
reminds us that...
Each of us by our thoughts,
attitudes, and actions is constantly planting for a future reaping. Time
may pass before the crop ripens, but the harvest is inevitable.
Consider the harvest!
spao = draw out, pull) literally means to scatter (seed) and the
opposite of reaping or gathering. Speiro is used figuratively to
describe the sowing of the "seed" of the Word of God, the
Gospel (="the word of the kingdom" - Mt13:19, cp Mk 4:14 15, 16, 18),
"the ideas and precepts that have been implanted like seed in their
hearts, ie, received in their hearts (Mk 4:18)." (Thayer). Jesus
used speiro repeatedly in His parables (Mt 13:3, 18, 24, 31)
Speiro - 52x in 41v- Mt
6:26; 13:3f, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 31, 37, 39; 25:24, 26; Mk
4:3, 4, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 31, 32; Lk 8:5; 12:24; 19:21, 22; Jn 4:36, 37; 1Co
9:11; 15:36, 37, 42, 43, 44; 2Co 9:6, 10; Gal 6:7, 8; Jas 3:18.
"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather
into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth
much more than they?
Matthew 13:3 And He spoke many things to them in parables (a long
analogy, often cast in the form of a story, common form of teaching in
Judaism = 45x in the
saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed,
some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.
Matthew 13:18 "Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 "When
anyone hears the word (logos)
of the kingdom (~the
and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away (harpazo
= the very verb used for the "rapture" in 1Th 4:17-see
note) what has been
sown in his heart (kardia).
This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. 20 "The
one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man
who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy (Mt 13:21 where
"falls away" = skandalizo ~ "scandalized" - see
skandalon)...Mt 13:22 And the
one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who
hears the word, and the worry (merimna)
of the world and the deceitfulness (apate)
of wealth choke (strangle or suffocate completely -
= continually) the word, and it becomes unfruitful (akarpos).
23 And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man
who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit (karpophoreo)
and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty."
13:24 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of
heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his
field....(Mt 13:25, 26) Mt 13:27 "The slaves of the landowner came and
said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How
then does it have tares?'....(Mt 13:28, 29, 30)
13:31 He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of
heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his
field. (Mt 13:32)
And He said, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of
Man...(Mt 13:38) Mt 13:39 and the enemy who sowed them is the
devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are
Matthew 25:24 "And the one also who had received the one talent came up
and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did
not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 26 But his
master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that
I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.
Mark 4:3 "Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 as
he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came
and ate it up...Mk 4:14 "The sower sows the word. 15 "These are
the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when
they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has
been sown in them.16 In a similar way these are the ones on whom
seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word,
immediately receive it with joy...(Mk 4:17) Mk 4:18 And others are the
ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones
who have heard the word...(Mk 4:19) Mk 4:20 And those are the ones on
whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and
accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
Mark 4:31 "It
is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it
is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil,32 yet when it is
sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and
forms large branches; so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR can NEST UNDER ITS
Luke 8:5 "The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed,
some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds
of the air ate it up.
Luke 12:24 "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap;
they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more
valuable you are than the birds!
Luke 19:21 for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you
take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.'
22 "He said to him, 'By your own words I will judge you, you worthless
slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not
lay down and reaping what I did not sow?
John 4:36 "Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering
fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may
rejoice together.37 "For in this case the saying is true, 'One sows
and another reaps.'
1 Corinthians 9:11 If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too
much if we reap material things from you?
1 Corinthians 15:36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to
life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow
the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of
something else....(1Co 15:38, 39, 40, 41) 1Co 15:42 So also is the
resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an
imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, 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. If there is a natural body, there
is also a spiritual body.
2 Corinthians 9:6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will
also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap
bountifully...(2Co 9:7, 8, 9) 2Co 9:10 Now He who supplies seed to the
sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for
sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
Angell James: A sparing liberality shall be attended with a sparing
reward, and a bounteous liberality shall be attended with a bounteous
reward. Look! as the harvest answers the measure of seed that is
sown—just so, that he who sows but little reaps but little, and he who
sows much reaps much—just so, saints' reaping at last will be answerable
to their sowing here. All men's charities shall at last be rewarded
proportionable to the several degrees of it. He who gives a pound shall
have a greater reward than he who gives a penny (Ed: I would add the
caveat that a better measure is the proportion of one's total wealth
that is given - e.g. see the "widow's mite" Lk 21:1, 2, 3, 4). He who
sows thousands shall reap more than he who sows hundreds. He shall have
the most plentiful crop in heaven, who has sowed most seed here on
earth, etc. They shall have interest upon interest in heaven, who sow
much on this side heaven. (The
Crown and Glory of Christianity)
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man
sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to
his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who
sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
James 3:18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in
peace by those who make peace.
Sowing, usually accomplished by
broadcasting seed, could precede or follow plowing. Fields or individual
plants were fertilized with dung (Je 9:22; Lk 13:8), and the rain and
sun brought different crops to maturity at different times. Following
the winter rains and the ‘latter’ rains of March-April, barley was ready
to be harvested in April and May, and wheat matured three or four weeks
later. Grain was pulled up by the roots or cut with flint-bladed or iron
sickles (Dt 16:9).
Every farmer exercises simple
faith in the law of the harvest for without faith he would not even sow
seed. The farmer knows if he sows in the spring, he will harvest in the
summer. He also knows that if he sows sparingly, he will reap sparingly.
On the other hand, if he sows abundantly, he knows he will reap
This (touto) he will
also reap - Vincent points out that "this" (touto) is
emphatic which conveys the sense "this and nothing else"! (cp Mt
"That very thing, not something different." (A T Robertson)
Let him sow
what he likes, touto with emphasis—that and that only, that and
nothing else, shall he also reap. (Commentary
on the Greek text of the epistle of Galatians - Online)
(therizo from théros = summer, harvest time ~ time of
harvests) conveys the picture of cutting ripe grain and gathering the
bundles together. To reap, to harvest, harvest, reaping.
The tissues of
the life to be
We weave with colors all our own;
And in the field of Destiny
We reap as we have sown.
-W H Griffith-Thomas
The immutable law of sowing and
reaping dictates that we can be assured that we will reap what we sow,
but we can never know exactly how much we reap until the time of the
Will reap is the future
tense regarding which Eadie writes...
refers to the judgment, when the results of present action shall be felt
in their indissoluble relations. The reaping is not only the effect of
the sowing, but is necessarily of the same nature with it. He that sows
cockles, cockles shall he also reap; he that soweth wheat, wheat also
shall he reap. It is the law of God in the natural world—the harvest is
but the growth of the sowing; and it illustrates the uniform sequences
of the spiritual world. The nature of conduct is not changed by its
development and final ripening for divine sentence; nay, its nature is
by the process only opened out into full and self-displayed reality. The
blade and the ear may be hardly recognised and distinguished as to
species, but the full corn in the ear is the certain result and
unmistakeable proof of what was sown. And the sowing leads certainly,
and not as if by accident, to the reaping; the connection cannot be
severed—it lies deep in man's personal identity and responsibility. (Commentary
on the Greek text of the epistle of Galatians - Online)
Don Robinson has an
interesting series entitled "The 7 Laws of the Harvest". Here are
the titles and links...
1) We Reap Only What Has Been Sown
2) We Reap the Same In Kind As We Sow
3) We Reap in a Different Season than We Sow
4) We Reap More Than We Sow
5) We Reap In Proportion to What We Sow
6) We Reap the Full Harvest Of the Good Only if We
7) We Can't do Anything About Last Year's Harvest,
But We Can About This Year's
OLD & NEW TESTAMENT TRUTH
There are a number of verses in both the Old and New Testament which echo the truth
of the immutable law of sowing and reaping...
According to what I have seen,
those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest
it. (Job 4:8)
Comment: Even before the
farmer sows, he expends much effort in preparing the soil. So too those
who plow evil ('aven) purposely and diligently pursue a course of
wickedness. They sow trouble ('amal = misery, that which is an
unpleasant, hard, distressing experience) as they revel in transgressing
the moral law. Their sowing determines the kind of harvest
they will reap. It is typical of Eliphaz’s style that he states
that he has personally seen this principle at work. (Hartley, J. E.. The
Book of Job. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament.
Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co)
Those who sow in tears shall reap
with joyful shouting (cp Ps 30:5). He who goes to and fro weeping,
carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him. (Ps 126:5,6)
W A Criswell: The principle of
sowing and reaping, which is applicable to the restoration of the exiles
(Jews from Babylon after 70 years of captivity, also serves as an
encouragement to all believers to be faithful in personal witnessing.
All aspects of these verses are crucial to the Christian missionary and
evangelistic mandate (cp Mt 28:16, 17, 18). The preciousness of the seed
is an apt description of the intrinsic value of the message of
redemption. Ps 126:5 depicts the earnestness of the enterprise, not
to mention the difficulty of the task. However, the culmination of this
strenuous and emotionally draining effort is rejoicing at harvest time.
W A. Believer's Study Bible: New King James Version. 1991. Thomas Nelson)
Tony Evans: THEY tell me
that one kernel of wheat in the ground produces a stalk bearing three
heads of wheat. In each head, there are fifteen to thirty-five kernels,
altogether producing somewhat close to a hundred kernels from the stalk.
When planted, these kernels will produce ten thousand kernels. When
those ten thousand are replanted, they produce a million kernels. It’s
amazing what one person can do if they just start right where they are.
(Note: The following comments relate
only to Ps 126:5. For Spurgeon's comments on Ps 125:6 see
Psalm 126:6 - Treasury of David)
Spurgeon's Comment: Hence,
present distress must not be viewed as if it would last forever; it is
not the end, by any means, but only a means to the end. Sorrow is our
sowing, rejoicing shall be our reaping (cp 2Co 4:17, 18). If
there were no sowing in tears there would be no reaping in
joy. If we were never captives we could never lead our captivity
captive. Our mouth had never been filled with holy laughter if it had
not been first filled with the bitterness of grief. We must sow:
we may have to sow in the wet weather of sorrow; but we shall
reap, and reap in the bright summer season of joy.
Let us keep to the work of this
present sowing time,
and find strength in the promise
which is here so positively given us.
Here is one of the Lord's
shalls and wills; it is freely given both to
workers, waiters, and weepers, and they may rest assured that it will
not fail: "in due season they shall reap." (Treasury
George Horne (1730-1792): This
promise is conveyed under images borrowed from the instructive scenes of
agriculture. In the sweat of his brow the husbandman tills his land, and
casts the seed into the ground, where for a time it lies dead and
buried. A dark and dreary winter succeeds, and all seems to be lost; but
at the return of spring universal nature revives, and the once desolate
fields are covered with corn which, when matured by the sun's heat, the
cheerful reapers cut down, and it is brought home with triumphant shouts
Here, O disciple of Jesus,
behold an emblem of lily
present labour and thy future reward!
Thou "sowest", perhaps, in "tears";
thou doest thy duty amidst persecution, and affliction, sickness, pain,
and sorrow; you labour in the Church, and no account is made of thy
labours, no profit seems likely to arise from them. Say, thou must
thyself drop into the dust of death, and all the storms of that winter
must pass over thee, until thy form shall be perished, and thou shalt
Yet the day is coming
when thou shalt "reap in joy",
and plentiful shall be thy harvest.
For thus thy blessed Master "went
forth weeping", a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, "bearing
precious seed" and sowing it around him, till at length his own body was
buried, like a grain of wheat, in the furrow of the grave (cp "the joy
set before Him" - He 12:2). But he arose, and is now in heaven, from
whence he shall "doubtless come again with rejoicing", with the voice of
the archangel and the trump of God, "bringing his sheaves with him".
Then shall every man receive the fruit of his works, and have praise of
God. --George Horne (1730-1792), in "A Commentary on the Psalms." (Treasury
Thomas Fuller: I saw in
seedtime a husbandman at plough in a very rainy day. Asking him the
reason why he would not rather leave off than labour in such foul
weather, his answer was returned me in their country rhythm: --
Sow beans in the mud,
And they'll come up like a wood.
This could not but remind me of
David's expression, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy", etc.
--Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), in "Good Thoughts in Worse Times." (Treasury
The Christian Husbandman
Illustrate the metaphor. The husbandman has a great variety of work
before him; every season and every day brings its proper business. So
the Christian has duties in the closet, in the family, in the church, in
the world, etc., etc.
2) Whence it is that many Christians sow in tears.
may be owing to the badness of the soil.
b) The inclemency of the season.
c) The malice and opposition of enemies.
d) Past disappointments.
What connection there is between sowing in tears and reaping in joy.
joyful harvest, by God's blessing, is the natural consequence of a
dripping seed time.
b) God, who cannot lie, hath promised it.
When this joyful harvest may be expected. It must not be expected in our
wintry world, for there is not sun enough to ripen it. Heaven is the
Christian's summer. When you come to reap the fruits of your present
trials, you will bless God, who made you sow in tears. Improvement.
greatly are they to blame who in this busy time stand all the day idle!
b) How greatly have Christians the advantage of the rest of the world!
c) Let the hope and prospect of this joyful harvest support us under all
the glooms and distresses of this vale of tears.
a Sermon by Samuel Lavington, 1726- 1807. (Treasury
Comments: Two pictures. The connecting "shall" (Ps 126:5)
1) There must
be sowing before reaping.
2) What men sow they will reap. If they sow precious seed, they will
reap precious seed.
3) In proportion as they sow they will reap. "He that soweth sparingly",
4) The sowing may be with sorrow, but the reaping will be with joy.
5) In proportion to the sorrow of sowing will be the joy of reaping.
--G. R. (Treasury
The wicked earns deceptive wages
(gain of the wicked is not "real", for it is not enduring Pr 10:25), but
he who sows righteousness (= lives righteously,
"right" by God's standards) gets ("reaps") a true reward. (Pr 11:18).
Expositor's Bible Commentary:
Ultimately, rewards are appropriate for different character traits. The
line extols the benefits for one “who sows righteousness,” i.e., one who
inspires righteousness in others while practicing it himself. What is
sown will yield fruit (1Cor 9:11; 2Cor 9:6; Jas 3:18).
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary OT 7 Volume Set: Books:
The Pulpit Commentary: The
“reward,” (~harvest, reaping) in a Jew’s eyes, would be a long life in
which to enjoy the fruits of his good conduct. We Christians have a
better hope, which is, perhaps, adumbrated by this analogy; as the seed
sown in the field does not produce its fruit till the time of harvest,
so righteousness meets with its full recompense only in the great
harvest at the end of all things. (Pulpit
Commentary - Exposition)
Commentary: The principle of recompense.
Every action is a secondary cause, and is followed by its corresponding
II. The effect corresponds in kind and in degree to the cause.
III. Human conduct may thus be viewed as a sowing followed by
reaping, work by wages, action by reaction.
IV. The gain of the wicked is deception illusory.
Illustrations: Pharaoh’s attempt to decrease Israel resulted in
their increase and his own destruction. Caiaphas seeking by murderous
expediency to save the nation brought about its ruin. The persecution of
the Church at Jerusalem led to the greater diffusion of the gospel (Acts
V. The reward of the righteous is stable and sure.
Illustrations: The patient continuance in well-doing of Noah,
Abraham, Joseph. Compare the sowing of St. Paul in tears, e.g. at
Philippi (Acts 16.), with his joyous reaping, as his Epistle to the
Philippians witnesses. The reward is eternal—“a crown of righteousness
that fadeth not away.” (cp 1Co 9:25, 2Ti 4:8-note,
“What we weave in time we shall wear in eternity.”—J. (Pulpit
Commentary - Homilies)
Critical and Exegetical Commentary:
Goodness, says the proverb, is commercially profitable—the pay is
prosperity, insured by the laws of man and the favor of God. (A
Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Proverbs)
There is one who scatters, and
yet increases all the more, And there is one who withholds what is
justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will
be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. (Pr
He who sows iniquity
will reap vanity, and the rod of his fury will perish.
Pulpit Commentary: They who do
evil shall meet with punishment in their very sins—the exact contrast to
the promise to the righteous (see Pr 11:18).
NET Bible Note: The verse is
making an implied comparison (a figure of speech known as
hypocatastasis) between sowing and sinning. One who
sins is like one who sows, for there will be a "harvest" or a return on
the sin – trouble...(Commenting on the last half of the verse)
The expression signifies that in reaping trouble for his sins this
person will no longer be able to unleash his fury on others. (NETBible
H A Ironside: They who in
their youth sow wild oats will have a terrible crop to reap in older
days (Pr 22:8). No wonder the world has so many disillusioned and
disappointed old men and aged women. They frittered away the golden
hours of youth in careless living and selfish indulgence, and as a
result their wrecked constitutions, and in some cases impaired minds,
make their later years most distressing and unhappy. It is quite
otherwise with men and women who, in the days of their youth, lived in
an orderly manner walking before God in self-control, refusing to become
the slaves of sensuality. For them gray hair is indeed a crown of glory,
because they are found in the way of righteousness (Pr 16:31). Someone
has well said, “The Devil has no happy old men.” But how
different it is with those who have known and loved the Lord through the
long years! When they reach the eventide of life, theirs is a peace and
a serenity which is found only in the service of God. Of them it can be
said, “At eventide it shall be light.”
Sowing the seed of a ling’ring pain,
Sowing the seed of a maddened brain,
Sowing the seed of a tarnished name,
Sowing the seed of eternal shame,
Oh, what shall the harvest be?
He who tends the fig tree will
eat its fruit, and he who cares for his master will be honored.
Comment: "The proverb for
today explains this reward for service in terms of tending a fig tree.
Taking care of a tree is thankless work: most of the year the caretaker
mulches, prunes, waters, sprays, or trims. But when the fruit comes, its
caretaker is rewarded for his labor. The same is true regarding the
servant who looks out for the interests of his master. Jesus says that
God will honor those who serve His Son and go where He goes, even unto
death (Jn 12:26). In economics, this is called the law of returns.
What you cast on the water after many days will return to you (Ec 11:1)
- Today in the Word)
For they sow the wind
and they reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads;
It yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up.
Comment: Note that the reaping
comes later and greater! Do not be deceived! Next time you are
considering some willful sin, stop and ponder Gal 6:7, 8 and Hosea 8:6!
It just might be the best pause you'll ever make, because you cannot
even predict the consequences. Surely if King David had been able to
envision the consequences that his evil deeds would wreak on his family,
he would have had pause and cause to turn his eyes away from Bathsheba!
Warren Wiersbe: In their
idolatry and political alliances, the Israelites were trying to sow
seeds that would produce a good harvest, but they were only sowing the
wind—vanity, nothing—and would reap the whirlwind. Nothing could stop
the force of the Assyrian army. The harvest would be more powerful than
the seed! The sowing/reaping image continues with the picture of a
blighted crop of grain. The rulers of Israel thought their worship of
Baal and their foreign alliances would produce a good crop of peace and
prosperity; but when the time came for the harvest, there was nothing to
reap. And even where heads of grain did appear, the enemy reaped the
harvest and Israel gained nothing. In the image of the wind, Hosea said,
"You will reap far more than you sowed, and it will be destructive!" In
the image of the grain, he said, 'You will reap nothing at all, and your
enemies will get the benefit of all the promises you made." (Bible
Exposition Commentary - Old Testament)
Related Resource: Spurgeon's
Sermon on Hosea 8:7 -
“What Shall the Harvest Be?”
Leon J Wood (Expositor's Bible
Commentary): The “wind” speaks of the emptiness of Israel’s
sin; the “whirlwind” speaks of God’s impending destruction.
Israel’s punishment had already begun: the stalks were not producing
grain that could be milled into flour. God had apparently withheld the
rain. Furthermore, if any stalks did produce grain, it was only for
foreigners to snatch it up.
Ryrie: Israel sowed the wind
of idolatry and reaped the whirlwind of destruction.
Henry Morris: Reaping follows
sowing. "He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption"
(Gal 6:8). This principle was applied with great fury to ancient Israel,
and a similar time of reaping awaits other nations that forget God (Ps
(command) with a view
to righteousness, reap
in accordance with kindness
(Hebrew = hesed/heced - God's lovingkindness, His covenant loyalty and