A garden or a wilderness

God has been speaking to me lately about bringing forth fruit. You see, from the beginning man has had the ability to bear fruit- (Genesis 1:28). When man fell, this ability was not taken away but became subjected to the man himself. The soul of man can be made subject to either the body or to the spirit of man which is being ruled by the spirit of God.The fruit of the spirit is a result of the soul being made subject to that spirit and the gradual filling of the vessel with oil.
Genesis 4:2 tells us about Cain and Abel who were brothers- ‘Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground’. The ground(or the earth) speaks of carnality, of flesh. ‘Keeping the sheep’ speaks of the dealings of the heart. In Genesis 2:15 God put man in the garden of Eden- which speaks of our soul- to ‘dress it and to keep it’.
Proverbs 24:30&31 shows that a field that is not looked after becomes overgrown.
Proverbs 27:23- ‘Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds’.
Ephraim means double ash-heap; doubly fruitful. Like Levi that can be joined to whomever he pleases, Ephraim’s propensity to be fruitful can be directed towards God, or towards darkness. ‘Ephraim’ is a cake not turned, he has mixed himself among the people (Hosea 7:8).
We cannot afford to be caught between two answers; desiring light and darkness at once. Naomi and Elimelech left Bethlehem (Ruth 1:1&2)- a place of bread; they were Ephratites. They came to Moab- a place of flesh- and ended up with less than they set out with. They left a place of fruitfulness and came to a place of ashes. When we walk contrary to God’s word, we will not be fruitful.
The journey of a Christian is all about the soul and the state in which it is. The Israelites left the world- Egypt- and then had to go through the wilderness- they had to overcome the wilderness (which speaks of the outer court) and it took them 40 years, it was a time of tribulation. We cannot overcome the wilderness in our souls without tribulation. When they reached the promised land, they had to reclaim it from the giants- we have to overcome the giants, the strongholds in our hearts. Our destination is the mercy seat, that place of worship where our hearts will once more be a fruitful garden.

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