In the early days of my gardening dreams, I went for what they say is one of the most popular and probably easiest-to-grow vegetables—tomatoes. Who “they” are is irrelevant, but “they” clearly didn’t know my skill level.
With typical enthusiasm, I plucked up a little plot and plopped in a few plants, I’d say about six inches tall. I don’t remember what variety—red, I think–because with a least a few of them, I’m not sure I ever got to find out. I would come to admire my work, and the fragile new limbs were being wantonly cut off! Chewed off is a better description.
It could be none other than that dastardly demon, that maleficent monster, that gorging gargoyle of gardens—
Little lagomorphs, cute as they are, are also sinister to a garden of fresh veggies. Several strategies later, a few of which prompted my husband to dub that part of the yard “The DMZ”, I finally broke down and spent the money to encase the entire area with fencing.
And probably would have been financially ahead just buying tomatoes at the store…
It’s frustrating (if not disheartening) when what we work so hard for, that for which we have high hopes and visions, gets “eaten” by others. In the following scenario, God is warning the people that this is exactly what is about to happen, due to their obstinate rebellion against Him:
“Your spreading vines once reached as far as the Dead Sea, but the destroyer has stripped you bare! He has harvested your grapes and summer fruits.” (1)
The wonderful crops that they had so diligently tended were about to be consumed for another purpose. And why? Because they were not being used for the one true God of the Universe, but for idolatrous activities. This is a poignant example of what happens when we refuse to utilize our God-given talents exclusively for Him and under His direction. (Anything else is idolatry in its truest sense.) It may happen gradually, or it may happen overnight, but it will happen.
Who is this “destroyer”? Sounds like something from a Marvel movie, but actually is much worse. We call him Satan. Here’s how he’s described by Jesus:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” (2)
This destroyer is still lurking, looking for our vulnerable places. Sometimes he just nibbles, sometimes takes a full bite. Yet here is some r-e-a-l-l-y good news. God is telling His people that if they give all that we have FROM God (our talents, our money, all of our resources) back TO God (they are from Him, anyway…) to be used FOR God…
“Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground…” (3)
Much, much better than going down a wabbit hole.