From Barrenness To Fruitfulness
"Then the Lord became jealous for his land and had pity on his people. The Lord answered and said to his people, “Behold, I am sending to you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations… “The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…”" - Joel 2:18-19, 24-25 (MEV)
We are living in an amazing time. We are living in a time when many ancient biblical prophecies are coming to pass right before our eyes. The prophet, Joel, spoke these words about two thousand eight hundred years ago. Now, we are seeing them fulfilled and becoming a reality. You cannot find any prophecy like that in any other religious books except in the bible because the bible is the living Word of the Eternal God.
The nation of Israel had been exiled from their homeland not once but twice in history over a period of more than two and a half millennia. But now they are back in their homeland since 1948 as prophesied by numerous of their prophets. These Jewish prophets also prophesied other things, many of which were very specific.
Isaiah prophesised about the desert blooming abundantly (Isaiah 35:1-2). You do not think too much of this prophecy until you begin to understand two things. Firstly, since the Romans destroyed the temple and sacked the city of Jerusalem nearly two thousand years ago, the holy land had not been cultivated. Secondly, many parts of Israel are dry deserts and rocky terrains with low rainfall. When the first waves of settlers returned, they found the land uncultivable. But they were determined. They prayed. They made gigantic efforts to reforest the land and cultivate grain fields, olive groves, vineyards and fruit orchards. God’s blessing coupled with human ingenuity and sheer perseverance bring Isaiah and Joel’s prophecies to pass. God is faithful to His promises!
The unmistakable hand of God on the nation of Israel was made even clearer in the grape harvest and wine production last year. The grape harvest in the traditional wine-producing nations around the world faltered due to a combination of factors. Europe experienced heatwaves while California struggled with wildfires. Consequently, the global wine production dropped to levels rarely seen in the past few decades. Fascinatingly, Israel experienced a much larger harvest than usual. It was so bountiful that the grape farmers had to cut back their vines to cope with the huge capacity overflow. This reduces the quantity of grapes produced but it greatly improves the quality. As a result, the wine produced was also of a better quality than normal.
I believe that this is a sign from God for Israel, the church and the world, that He is with Israel, the apple of His eye. As Israel’s neighbours and the world step up their hostility against her, God is proclaiming His divine favour on Israel. It is unmistakable. Joel’s prophecy gives us three reasons. One, God has compassion for His people and He is jealous for His land. Two, He is removing the shame from them. Never again will they be a reproach among the nations. Finally, through this blessing of abundant harvest and overflowing wine, God is restoring to them for the years the locusts have eaten.
These are wonderful blessings for Israel. The once barren land had produced an abundance in a year when the wine production worldwide was uncharacteristically low. It reminds me of the story of Isaac sowing during famine and reaping a hundredfold. The reason given is because the LORD blessed him (Genesis 26:12).
I sensed the Lord speaking to me when I was reading the news of the blessing of abundant grape harvest and overflowing wine production in Israel. I felt strongly that there was prophetic significance in this news for our church. When I read the same news again a few days ago, I sensed a prophetic resonance. So, I am now releasing these prophetic words.
What happened to Israel in their abundance of grape harvest and overflowing wine production in 2017 will happen to Rock of Ages Church in 2018. 2018 will be a year of fruitfulness for Rock of Ages Church. Though we may feel barren now, we shall be barren no more. 2018 offers us a new beginning. 2018 will be a year of turning, turning from barrenness to fruitfulness. So, by faith, I declare that 2018 shall be a year of fruitfulness! We are going to see miracles. We will experience increase. We shall be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever we do prospers (Psalm 1:3). We will bear the fruit of the Spirit. We will grow toward Christlikeness. We are going to see a mighty revival as God pours forth the wine of His Holy Spirit in abundance on us!
As we step into the threshold of 2018, let us believe and pray earnestly in faith to see these prophetic words come to pass in Rock of Ages Church!
Pastor Les & Adeline Chua