Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. 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. For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.
The prophet illustrated the way God deals with His children by citing three aspects of a farmer’s work. First, he declared that the plowman doesn’t continue breaking the ground indefinitely, but stops when it is ready for planting. Likewise, our trials are brought to an end as soon as they have accomplished His purposes in our lives. Then the prophet said that the farmer sows his seed with discernment, scattering the waste but putting the wheat in rows. This assured that the Lord carefully selected the discipline especially suited to their particular need. Finally, Isaiah portrayed the laborer threshing his crop. With extreme care he beats out the dill with a light stick, and strikes the waste with a heavier flail. For the wheat, he used a wheel just heavy enough to avoid crushing the grain. Thus the God used the gentlest possible touch for their condition, never allowing an affliction to be greater than they could bear.