Sowing In The Manure

For there shall be a sowing of peace.

2017 was a year that produced a high volume of manure. This is not a surprise to God or (entirely) to those who put their hope in him. For when there’s a visibly growing pile of dung in the front yard, we can trust that God is preparing fertile soil for planting and we all would do well to pay close attention.

In Zechariah, the prophet says to the remnant of his people, “I know you are up to your necks in a river of manure, most of which you have brought upon yourselves. You think you are overcome, but God will save you. Not only that, He will use the very dung you are drowning in to bring about a harvest of goodness and beauty like you’ve never seen before.” (my paraphrase of Zechariah 8)

“I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong.” (v.13)

It takes strong hands and a stout, hopeful heart to get up each morning and start clearing the manure that’s accumulated in and around us. But Zechariah, speaking as God, reminds us not to become hardened, afraid, or despairing while we do. Instead he urges us to Pay Attention and Take Heart and Get Busy preparing our plot of soil for Christ’s peace. Because God is growing a new thing in the world, even in the waste.

Only God can repurpose the world’s manure and beget something good. Christ, alone, can turn the putrified stench of decay and death into a fragrant aroma of Spring. Only the Maker of heaven and earth can sow seed into a disintegrating creation and reap a harvest of peace. Will he not do this?

“I will save you, and you will be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong.”

Jesus left heaven and came down into our manure. The Pure became filth. The Holy One became degraded. The Light of the World entered the choking black muck and was not saved; he not rescued by the strong hand of God. No, God allowed the seed of heaven to fall to the ground, break open and die, so that he would be the first fruit of a new creation.

God planted Jesus in the world’s barren soil to grow a harvest of righteousness and peace. He called him Immanuel. And this same Jesus – God’s seed –  has been planted in use and with us.

I will save you. You will be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong. 

God has sown his eternal seed in the soil of our hearts and is making a new thing; a new creation; a new people that will bring joy to the world. Surely He will strengthen our hearts and hands to bring his blessing far as the curse is found?

And so we look up from the mountains of manure around us to our Salvation. We fix our eyes firmly on Jesus, trusting that he is preparing, sowing, and growing, even now, a new thing in us his world.

Peace be with you and yours today. For there shall be a sowing of peace. (v.12)


“Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.” (John 4:36)

5 responses to Sowing In The Manure

  1. Maria says:

    Oh my, thank you for these timely words. I woke up with fear because of the very “dung” we have piled up around us. The encouragement from Zechariah 8 is exactly what I needed to let go of the fear and let His peace enter in. His blessings be yours in abundance as you cultivate the fields He’s given you.

  2. Michelle Bell says:

    This kind of describes my home life right now. A pile of manure. Not sure how it happened or how to dig out. I’ve prayed every prayer I know. Don’t know what else to do.

  3. Given Breath says:

    Michelle, I’m so sorry. It’s a terrible feeling to feel stuck in such a mess. I have some suggestions to start ‘digging’. They are simple, but not easy, and will take a prayer uttered many times a day, “Help me, Jesus.”

    The first would be to gather regularly with other believers in worship. On Sundays for church, and, if possible, another time during the week where people can pray with you and for you. God speaks through his word, and through his people, and so both those things will be a light to your path.

    Also, reading (or listening to) the scriptures each day, and then praying them back to God. The words of God are living, and they are for you to know about him. God wants to reveal himself to you, so that you will trust him more and more with all that you have, even the mess. All the scriptures point to Jesus, because He, alone, is what can bring new life to all that feels broken and dead and wrong.

    Is there anything that you need to repent of? God is abounding in mercy and lovingkindness towards your. Is there anyone that you need to forgive? If it seems impossible, look to Jesus who was broken, abandoned, despised, pierced, neglected, and humiliated all so he could forgive our sin. Ask him for his divine help. Forgiveness can only come from him.

    Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

    Turning yourself to God and waiting for him is hard, but he will come to you if you seek him, for he wants to be found!

    Thank you for writing…

  4. Mel says:

    Thank you so much for this reminder; when we have trouble seeing the Sun for the pile around us. Merry Christmas to you and yours

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