This quote comes from Joshua 5:13 and is a good question for all of time. It is a question that one could even ask in this day and time. Joshua was asking this question of the “captain of the host of the Lord” (Joshua 5:14). He is also told to take his shoes off of his feet for the place whereon he stood was holy (Joshua 5:15).
The answer then was implied for the answer Joshua got was that he was speaking to the “captain of the host of the Lord.” If we asked this same question today the answer could be given or even implied.
When Jesus was talking about false prophets, he said: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruit ye shall know them” (Matthew 5:15-19). Several questions that can be asked after reading from the Sermon on the Mount: 1) What kind of tree are you? You are either a good tree or a corrupt tree? Another question is, what kind of fruit are you producing? If we know what kind of fruit you are producing then the first question answers itself. To know a person, if he is a false prophet or not, all one has to do is to notice the kind of fruit that they are producing. What kind of fruit are you producing?
Do you think that others can tell what kind of fruit you produce? Think of the teachers over the years that have influenced you the most to do good. What kind of fruit do you think they have produced? Good or bad? Have you ever had a teacher that was a bad influence? What kind of fruit do you think they produced? What kind of student came out of that class and what kind of citizen came out of that class?
While reading a autobiography of Zig Ziglar one will find that he grew up in Yazoo City Mississippi. Do you know anyone else who grew up there? In the above book he tells of several famous people who grew up in that city about the same time. He contributes this phenomena to the fact of strong teachers and strong preachers. Faith and education go hand in hand and when the two are strong great things will happen. It must be so, for in this case his illustration of the many famous people, show it to be so. It goes back to what the Bible say, “… by their fruits ye shall know them.”
What kind of fruit are you producing? This will also tell on whose side you are. If one is producing bad fruit, just whose side do you think that you are on? If one is producing good fruit whose side is he on? We can tell and this will be righteous judgment (John 7:24).
Time sometime is needed to tell what kind of fruit is going to be produced. It does take time for some plants to grow into maturity. It takes time then for these plants to produce a crop. So we may not be able to tell immediately what kind of fruit is going to be produce. Does a crab apple tree produce the first year that the seed is planted? Does a pecan tree produce the first year that the seed in planted? In some cases it takes years to find out if the tree will produce at all. When one buys a fruit tree from a store will fruit come from that tree the first year? It may not, if it does it may be small and very few. No decision can really be made then on what kind of fruit is going to be produced! It may not be the next year. It may take three or four years before one can tell if the tree is going to produce a crop or not. The same is true for some peoples teaching it may take years before the real fruit is produced or enough has been produced to tell if the teacher and the teaching are going to produce good fruit.
If bad crops come from the teacher then who is he for? Is he for God or for the devil? If good crops come from a teacher then who is he for? Is he for us or our adversary? We must be careful in our judgment of the fruit. For Paul said, “An no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the minister of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). We also should be aware of what Paul wrote of our adversary earlier in the same letter, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). We must be ever alert to what our adversary is up to! He will deceive us! That is why some counterfeit money is so dangerous, it looks so much like the real thing. Some false teachers, teach so close to the truth that one has to look very closely at what is being produced to see if it is a good crop or a bad crop. Some crops may even appear to be good on the outside, but when it is opened up it is really bad.
This is what so interesting about John 5:42, “But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.” You may say that Jesus knew their hearts and knew this, and that may be true, but if you will read the book of John carefully one will see that their love of God was manifested by their actions. Their actions said they did not love God no matter how much they said they love Him. By their fruits one can tell whose side they were on. Whose side are you on?
As we begin this New Year, we are only one month into it, who side are you on? Remember now we can tell by the fruit you are producing. What kind of fruit will you be producing through out this year? Let us all determine to produce good fruit. Let us all work to produce fruit that God will be proud to put on display as the best fruit that is representing Him in the world.