In the last article we saw how God inspired Brian Oldreive to practice farming God’s Way. The farming God’s way concept was later developed into a tool that is now used to teach farmers everywhere, using the founding scripture of Isaiah 58. In verse six of this chapter, God reveals what the true fast is….to loosen, undo, free and break every yoke.
Practically how do we, as God’s people, loosen, remove and break the yoke and let the oppressed go free?
1) Divide your bread with the hungry
2) Shelter the homeless
3) Clothe the naked
4) Do not hide your eyes from the plight of others
5) Stop the pointing of the finger
6) Stop the speaking of wickedness
7) Give yourself to the hungry
8) Satisfy the desire of the afflicted
The same chapter describes God’s true fast for His people who are called by His name, which is to see the oppressed go free. Farming God’s Way as a training tool, was developed with the intention alleviating the yoke of poverty in Afrika starting first with the spiritual yoke and then dealing with the physical. As a training tool it delivers attainable solutions to both living and farming and consists of 3 spheres – Spiritual, Technology and Management.
The Spiritual sphere speaks right into the heart of the problem and unveils biblical truths as to why the land is under a curse and the poor under the yoke of poverty. The technological element demonstrates the practical principles of Farming God’s Ways in order to usher in the redemption of the land. The management element speaks into some of the traditions and strongholds of the mind, giving practical steps for the poor to make a profit. God’s desire is to see communities of farmers who love Him with all of their hearts, mind and strength.
We will now look at 6 biblical keys to help us understand why yokes of bondage and poverty are given power and place and also how to break free from them:
The first biblical key is to acknowledge God and God alone.
Globally, practices like witchcraft, ancestral worship, idolatry, exploitation, oppression, wickedness, forsaking the ordinances of God result in His displeasure and make room for curses to take hold both on the people and on the land. Afrika is no exception. One solution to this problem in Afrika is found in Proverbs 3:5-6. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight’. If we truly do this it means we will consult God and God alone in all areas of our lives, farming included. This means that ancient and even conventional (‘modern’) farming methods on how to grow food will be subjected to what God shows us and Him only.
The second biblical key is to Consider Your Ways.
Haggai 1:2-11 Consider your ways-My temple lies desolate. The temples of our lives are in ruins because we have been serving our own selfish ambitions and not walking in God’s ways. We are the children of God and we are His temple, so the state of our temple is important to Him. When people live lives that are not aligned to God’s ways they may come under various curses. In Haggai the Lord says that because His temple is in ruins He will call for a drought on the land and mountains and grains and whatever the ground brings forth. It is therefore of utmost importance to us as farmers to consider our ways, change our own lives and thus influence the lives of our families and communities which collectively can make a significant difference.
Understanding God’s All Sufficiency is the third key in farming God’s way.
2 Corinthians 9:8. In many places in Afrika a culture of dependency has entrenched itself on the poor. Western nations and NGOs have been providing relief food, fertilizers and other inputs year after year and some of the farmers have come to depend on this. They do not make much effort to grow their own food because they know once there’s drought, relief food will come. Some even end up selling the fertilizers and planting seeds instead of using them on their farms. Governments sometimes also use the relief food as a tool to coerce people to vote for them. This further tightens the buckle of the yoke of poverty around the people’s necks. Large sums of money have been used by governments and NGOs but it has not brought lasting change to most places. Since the beginning of man’s creation, he has always tried to be self-sufficient, doing things his own way, relying on his own wisdom rather than following the Lord’s wisdom. The solution is to stop depending on man for provision and look to God. Knowing “His all sufficiency” shatters any dependency we may have on man or governments or aid organizations or financial institutions. All of these are merely temporal and will pass away, but God is eternal. God’s all sufficiency allows us to be free from any yoke.
One of the greatest limitations in turning to Farming God’s Way is actually the mind of man. It sets the boundaries of progress and opportunity. Farmers need to have their minds renewed, to believe that they can actually succeed. They need to be taught the spiritual, management and technical aspects of Farming God’s Way, and that God is the one who brings the rain and the increase. We have to believe that God has indeed given US the ability to create wealth. Deuteronomy 8:18. God’s all sufficiency is evident in the farming Gods Way practices of using Gods Blanket (mulch) on the farms, using ready available inputs like manure, compost, open pollinated seeds (which can be replanted year in year out) and use of tools which are already in our hands (hoes) Exodus 4:2
Biblical key number four is what you sow, you will reap.
Afrika has been called the begging bowl of the world and I believe that God is turning this around so that the begging bowl can be transformed into a bread basket. As believers we have been mandated in the Word to give to the poor, but we need to use wisdom in our giving and not perpetuate the dependency syndrome. Many communities are living in areas that have no opportunities for any development but they continue to stay there because of the handouts they receive. God’s way is that people should develop according to His principles where He rewards based on sowing and reaping, on stewardship and being faithful with what you have been entrusted with. Acts 20:35. Once we understand that God is our source and that His all sufficiency is truly available to us, we can look at giving our way out of dependency and into His promise. The solution then is that we need to give in order to receive. In many cases this has been solely used as a scripture to promote the giving of tithes and offerings, but it was actually referring to all areas of life. If one looks at God’s outlook on our work or labor, His word says “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.” Proverbs 28:19. This is a matter of principle; if we do not work then we will be poor. In farming there is no greater example of this principle where we continually need to be giving and sowing in order to reap a harvest. We need to sow our seed, fertilizer and other inputs, labor, time, management and capital if we are to receive a harvest. Often farmers are at great risk due to the fact that they have to give so much, with so many unforeseen variables continually at play. Yet this in no way should limit the giving or sowing farmers do, but rather encourage them to have more faith in God.
Giving back to God is the 5th Biblical principle of Farming God’s Way.
Giving wherever one’s leading is to give is actually a giving back to God. God really doesn’t need our increase or wealth, but it shows Him where our hearts lie as we acknowledge Him first in our giving. Matthew 6:21 “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Giving of our treasure to Him, demonstrates our hearts toward Him and our faith in His provision. He is less interested in the amount or percentage, than in our heart attitude in giving back to Him. After all, He is the source of all things that are good in our lives and is the owner of it all anyway. He has provided everything we have and own and we are simply stewarding His resources. This mindset helps to give to God freely, without any percentage calculation required.
Stake your claim. (Place a demand) is the last key.
Most Bible scholars would know and understand the incredible importance of prayer and spiritual warfare; however only a few apply it in a real and tangible way. The Lord has given this tool to His children, for us to be able to exercise our spiritual authority in all spheres of life, so that the Kingdom of God may be firmly established. James 5:14 “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” He rules all things. Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and earth, but unfortunately we have also been given free will to choose who we want to be on the throne of our lives, our families, our homes, our fields, our communities and our nations. We should be taking God into all areas of our lives including our farms. We can talk with Him about our problems on the farm and pray and ask Him for His blessing on our crops and families even in desperate times. We stake our claim as sons of God by taking Jesus into every area of our lives. Jesus taught us to pray “let your Kingdom come on earth even as it in heaven.” Staking your claim starts with humility in Gods face. Humility is acknowledging that God’s ways are superior to ours and that we have been mistaken. This is such a powerful tool to tear down the curse and should never be underestimated. Humbling ourselves before Him and not coming in with ranting and raving will allow us to hear what He wants us to do. A physical sign of this humility is to get on one’s hands and knees and to take the soil in your hands as you pray over it. Many farmers do not ask God for rain before they complain about not having enough rain. There has to be a regional drought declaration before farmers actually come together and ask God for His blessing and rainfall. Matthew 7:7 “Jesus said ask and it shall be given you.” James 4:2. “You do not have because you do not ask.” God desires for us to come and ask of Him, even although He knows what we will ask before we ask Him. In so doing we acknowledge His divine power, sovereignty and authority over all things. This too is an act of worship. How should we pray then? We must repent for our pride, where we have been “leaning on our own understanding‟ by doing farming man’s way for so many years, and not acknowledging or even considering that He had a way we should do things. Ask Him to heal the soil. Yes it can be done. Soil can change colour, fertility and consistency in just 2 years but most of the full benefit to a whole hearted change to Farming God’s Way will be fully revealed within 5 years. He has the ability to speed up the process and supernaturally restore the fertility and we need to be asking for this process by faith. Ask for His blessing in rainfall, sunshine and protection from pests, disease and fire.
These are the six biblical principles of Farming Gods Way. Next time we shall learn about the technological principles.
Source material: Farming God’s Way Trainer’s Reference Guide. Dryden, G.W., 2009.