Lessons from the Duck Yard

By Bill Somers

Revised Aug 17, 1997

At our home in Gonzales Louisiana my wife Marylee keeps a collection of about 40 ducks of several types in a large pen in the yard. We live on 3 acres, so we have the room. We have a hose running from the house to the duck yard to give them water when needed. And they usually had plenty to meet their needs. We live in a very rainy part of the country, so often the duck yard becomes a sea of mud. That is mud, mud, mud and more mud!. Why mud? Well, because ducks have a habit of thoroughly eliminating any vegetation in any area where they are penned up. They dig down into the mud and root out anything that even resembles plant life. One side effect of this is that they create lots of holes and ruts in the ground. It becomes very uneven due to all the holes and extra treacherous when the holes turn to slippery mud.

One afternoon, while helping Marylee with some chore in the duck yard, I considered the condition of the yard. It was hot and dry that day. The ground in the duck yard was hard and dry. It was full of holes and nothing grew there. The ducks and the heat had turned it into a small scale desert! I thought to myself that this ground will need to be plowed before being re-seeded. If we were to get rid of the ducks and take down the fence and return the pen to a normal lawn, it would need a complete plowing to make it level again.

"That's part of what it means to break up the fallow ground!" The Holy Spirit spoke to me just at that moment. And in that moment He opened up a couple of verses in the bible and related them to a series of scriptures relating this to the Church. Now I see that the duck yard is a figure for the Church. And even more that the damage done by the ducks to the lawn that was originally there, parallels the devastation that the enemy has wreaked upon the Church. And further, the means I would have to use to restore the lawn are a reflection of the means the Lord will use to restore his Church in these last days.

The key verses he showed me were these:

Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground?

When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place? For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. (Isaiah 28:24-26 KJV)

And:

6. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

7. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

8. Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

9. The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.

10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth. (Zechariah 4:6-10 KJV)

The key word linking these two passages in the word 'plain'. Plain refers to a piece of ground that is flat, level or even. Plowing up a plot of land has several results. The hard ground is broken up so it will accept new seed. The weeds are all killed off, and the ground is made plain or level. All of these are typical of what the Lord must do to the Church.

Both passages speak of a portion of ground being made plain. They are made plain for a purpose! The plowman in the passage from Isaiah had the purpose of sowing seed. Zerubabel in the passage from Zechariah has the purpose of building the House of the Lord.

The background to all this can be found in Isaiah chapter 1:24-28

Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:

And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:

And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called,

The city of righteousness, the faithful city.

Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.

And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed (Isaiah 1:24-28).

This passage is a short summary of the Lords program for the end times. It includes purifying the Church, converting the lost, vengeance on the enemy, and destruction of the sinners.

Here verse 27 is the key verse giving an understanding of the Lords plans.

What is Zion?

"Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, ...".Zion is the Church. Redemption is the restoring and purifying the Church. Verse 27 elaborates on this. Judgment is the means of making this happen.

"..., and her converts with righteousness." This is the results of the redemption. Zion will have converts, the converts will have righteousness.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17

The Judgment that must begin with the house of God is expressed in many ways in scripture. One of these is plowing. Here are two instances of Judgment on Jerusalem referred to as plowing.

Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest. Jeremiah 26:18

Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest Micah 3:12.

These verses were fulfilled literally in the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. But they also have a figurative meaning speaking of judgment on the Church. The Plowing is Judgment.

Here in Hosea the idea of breaking up fallow ground is related to righteousness. When the ground is broken up, the Lord will come and rain righteousness.

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. (Hosea 10:12)

Who is the Plowman ?

Back in Isaiah 28 we can learn something about the plowman by the way he is described in verse 26

For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. (Isaiah 28:26 KJV)

Clearly this speaks of Jesus who is instructed by the Father and only does what the Father tells him.

Now in Zechariah 4 we find a reference to a great mountain becoming a plain.

Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Zechariah 4:7.

What is the great mountain mentioned here? It is Mt. Zion, a_figure_for the Church. A mountain that shall become a plain speaks of a great humbling that must take place. Now in this figure, the ground is become a plain, but where is the seed it is to receive ? It says 'he shall bring forth the headstone thereof. Can a plain have a headstone? Can a mountain have a headstone? No what God is doing here is switching metaphors. He begins to use a different figure of speech.

In verse 9 he says " The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house " A house can have a headstone. This is the house of God referred to in 1st Peter 4:17. That is the Church. So God is saying that the Church, seen as a plot of ground, or a mountain, must be broken up to receive seed. And this is the same as saying that the house of God must be judged so it can receive its headstone.

What is the Seed? And What is the Fallow Ground?

We know that the word of God is described as a seed, for example in the parable of the sower.

The fallow ground is our hearts. Either we break it up ourselves, or the Lord as the plowman will break it up for us. It must receive the new seed.

In Ps 119:11 we read "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." The word hidden in the heart is the seed received by the ground. The idea of breaking up ground and opening up your heart is found in Jeremiah 4:3-4 where it says

For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, Jeremiah 4:3-4

It is the broken and contrite heart that will receive the Word of God. What is the Headstone?

The headstone is the one that caps off the building. Ephesians 2:20 says:

"... Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

The headstone of the Church is Jesus; the Church is founded on the Lordship of Jesus. This is the headstone mentioned in Zechariah 4. The headstone of Mt. Zion.

Isaiah tells us, in the same chapter 28 where we read of the plowman,:

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Isaiah 28:16

The word 'therefore' when seen in the context of chapter 28 follows a long series of indictments of God's people. It implies that what follows the 'therefore' is His Judgment upon his people, based upon those indictments.

What is the Judgment?

The Judgment is accomplished by setting the Headstone in place. When Jesus takes his proper lace as head of the Church, He will judge the Church. Jesus is the judgment.

But this will be an occasion for great praise and rejoicing. The text in Zechariah says "he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it".

Verse 9 and 10 speak of Zerubbabel laying the foundation.:

The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.

For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth. (Zechariah 4:9-10 KJV)

Who is the builder?

The historical Zerubbabel is an ancestor of Jesus, figuratively he is a type of Jesus. It is Jesus [Zerubbabel] who builds the house. Recall that Jesus was a carpenter, one who built houses, and ships. Verse 10 says for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel. Once again we see rejoicing. Notice that Zerubbabel has in his hand a plummet. That is a plumb line, the instrument of a carpenter! A plummet, or plumb line is used to determine if something is truly vertical or upright. The line or measuring rod is used to see if something measures up to a standard. This is the same plummet seen in Isaiah 28:17 where it says "Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet ..."'The one who lays the foundation and wields the plummet is Isaiah 28 is the same one doing it in Zechariah 4. The Master Builder, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The historical Zerubbabel was the one who built the second temple, a type of the end time Church, in the book Ezra. This was a time of great rejoicing in Israel. It is prophetic of the great rejoicing and great revival to follow God's restoration of the Church in the days ahead.

And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid Ezra 3:11.

What is the Result of Setting the Headstone in Place?

Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. Isaiah 1:27

Genesis 28, shows us an example of someone putting a stone in place. Here we read in the story of Jacob, how he took a stone and set it up for a pillar.

And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. Genesis 28:17-18

In verse 17 we see he was afraid and saw that the place was dreadful. This speaks of the Fear of the Lord that must come to the Church. Calling the place 'the house of God' clearly refers to the Church. The stone that he had for a pillow can be thought of as a 'head' stone. The act of setting it up for a pillar is to set it 'in place'! [It speaks of the Son of Man having a place to lay his head, atop his body the Church!] Making the stone a pillar speaks of building something, the Church again. Once the head stone is set in place he pours oil on the top of it. This speaks of the Father sending the anointing to his people once they submit to the Lordship of Jesus. This is what is meant by the words in Zechariah 4.7 "and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it." The grace is the anointing!

Jacob is acting as a type of the Father in this passage. It's the Father who sets the headstone in place and who imparts the anointing. It's the voice of the father crying Grace, grace! It is the Father setting up the Kingdom of God in His Church on the earth; putting the Lamb upon the Throne and saying "Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies! It is God arising and coming to his resting place. It is the fulfillment of the prayer "thy kingdom come".

We see it further illustrated in Psalm 133.

Psalm 133 A Song of degrees of David

1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;

3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

Here you can see the psalmist speaking of Mt. Zion, the Church, in the context of pouring ointment, or oil, on the head of Aaron. Aaron is, of course, typical of Jesus, our High Priest. The body of the High priest is compared to a mountain, in that the oil on the head is likened to dew on the top of the mountain! Setting the headstone in place is equal to setting the head on top the body. This is where the Son of Man lays his head. This means that the body comes together. It comes into unity.

Unity

And so the result is UNITY! The brethren dwell together, in unity. And because of this, the Lord commands a Blessing. This is the blessing mentioned also in Haggai 2:16, from this day will I bless you.

The same concepts are covered in the book of Ephesians. In chapter 1 we read that He is the Head of the Body

And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all Ephesians 1:22-23.

In chapter 4 there is a discussion of what happens when the head and body come together.

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:13-16:

And here in chapter 2 it speaks of the Headstone, Jesus Christ, as the chief cornerstone, and how the building will grow or be built only as it is fitly framed.

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Ephesians 2:20-22

The Body and the Temple are the same. They can only grow when the head is in place. The foundation is the headstone. The Church is not the Church unless it is submitted to the head or "... holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God." Colossians 2:19

The foundation is the Lordship of Jesus. Since the foundation is the Head the Church must be built from the top down, just as illustrated in Psalm 133. There the body comes under the anointing from the top down as the oil is poured on the head. When it reaches the hem of the garment we can expect to see a release of healing power!

Instruments of Judgment

Notice that in these passages, the carpenter, the wise master builder, is never shown with hammer or nails, cement, saw or chisel. These are instruments of construction or assembly. This carpenter is shown using instruments of measurement or judgment. The passages in Ephesians indicate that once the building is 'fitly framed' or once the body is rightly joined to the head, it will grow automatically! Once the Church gets right it can't help but grow! People will be attracted to the presence of the Lord!

What is the Result of Breaking up the Ground?

Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. Isaiah 1:27

Figuratively the bible describes what happens after the ground is broken up in terms of rainfall. Once the ground is plowed and the seed is sown, the Lord sends His Rain. Here are a selection of verses that speak of the Rain and the Harvest.

Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. Hosea 6:3

He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. Psalm 72:6

Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures Isaiah 30:23.

For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring. Isaiah 44:3:

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it Isaiah 45:8.

Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so providedfor it.

Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. Psalm 65:9-11 This verse from Micah describes the results in a more literal fashion:

But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. Micah 4:1

And these verses from Isaiah 2:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more

O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD Isaiah 2:2-5. Back to: HOMEPAGE or FTLELTST of

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