Cultivating cucumbers this summer? Two of our three cucumber vines recently succumbed to the stress of our brutal heat, yet the third is thriving, a steady producer, surprising me every several days with a new fruit (vegetable!) revealed somewhere under the broad, sheltering leaves. Happily we are enjoying a constant supply of Cucumber Salad on our summer plates. Recipe to follow!
However, I have had to keep a dutiful watch over the squash bugs; daily I squish the voracious intruders found on the flowers, which seems to restrain their advance and keep cucumbers coming. Such is my organic pest control! The practice has paused me, in searching for the little buggers, to search my mind as well. Along with the pests, I have at least a couple of thoughts that need to be squished daily, and put towards the same end as the troublesome, striped bugs.
Uncannily, the verses referencing cucumbers in God’s Word come right to the point on typical attitudes needing to be confessed and relinquished: excessive complaining (Numbers 11:5) and taking defenseless cover (Isaiah 1:8). Easily, a grumbling disposition develops in me over bad news, uncomfortable situations, unmet expectations, etc. Likewise, I am quick to retreat or seek comfort—to take cover, so to speak—in a temporary “fix” instead of the gracious refreshment found in the Lord.
I am assuming, dear gardener, you are like me: Ready for a precise, two-question, cross-check from cucumber Scriptures as a recipe for the conscience, to confess and let God rid us of pest-y conceptions before they cultivate trouble.
What am I complaining about?
Cucumbers were steadily supplied to the Israelite diet just like our own, when they lived and slaved away in Egypt. At least, that is what I infer from their whiny protest to Moses, once they escaped to the Sinai, their nourishment reduced to daily manna.
…and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic….”
Numbers 11:4-5 NIV
Though the Israelites’ finicky hearts and fickle complaints seem funny to me thousands of miles and years removed from such uncomfortable surroundings, am I just as likely to murmur over a change I was not expecting? Or a short-term, modest provision on the way to grander promise? Cultivating cucumbers reminds me to ask myself, what am I complaining about?
O Lord, show me where my attitude is upset. What has me miffed? What is controlling my mood?*
Am I causing discord and strife in the people around me because I don’t have what I want? What am I expecting that I have not received (yet)? Or do I have what I hoped for, but it is not as rewarding as I thought it would be?
Where am I taking cover?
The second brief cucumber mention comes as a descriptor of a “hut” or shanty, emphasizing a slight structure. The Israelites were being reprimanded for losing their land to the ravage of foreigners, taking cover in temporary, faulty practices which would not protect them.
Daughter Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a cucumber field, like a city under siege.
Isaiah 1:8 NIV
A hut-like shelter kept a cucumber farmer out of the beating sun during breaks in daily cultivating, a sunscreen at best, not a secure, permanent, or fortified protection against enemy invasion. Taking cover in a cucumber hut would leave inhabitants defenseless in the onset of strong forces. Likewise, where am I taking cover?
What is a refuge to me, O Lord? Where am I retreating as a respite from pressure? Am I resting in sources of brief relief instead of You, dear God, who gives permanent strength and fortitude? What helps me to cope, yet leaves me vulnerable to unhealthy dependence, thereby creating an enemy stronghold?
Confession is Freedom
A carefree confession to God of any thoughts or growing habits in these directions is met with His grace, forgiveness, and power to be freed from fallacies. Pour out to Him with no pretense, no need for perfect wording:
Let us tell God about our wrong ways. God can be trusted. He does what is right. He will forgive us for the wrong things we have done. He will make us clean from all that was wrong.
1 John 1:9 Worldwide English translation
Our honesty with Him is met with refreshment; He is faithful to wash over us with renewal as He restores us to His refuge:
You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me. Get out of my life, evildoers, so I can keep my God’s commands.
Psalm 119:114 The Message
Additionally, we combat the advance of enemy claim on our minds with humble confession; the cleansing we receive sweeps away the chance for the enemy to obstruct and gain ground:
…since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 HCSB
Cucumber Salad Recipe
Rinse, slice, and dress up your daily cucumber harvest with these simple ingredients:
crushed coriander seed
dill leaves or seed
minced garlic or garlic powder
rice or white balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
Toss ingredients to desired taste; eat right on the spot or serve chilled.
God bless your confessions and your cucumber harvest!
But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise.
Galatians 3:25-27 The Message
*This question comes from Jeanne Nigro, Jeanne Nigro Ministries www.jeannenigro.com/
For more devotions on cucumbers in God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, see page 768, “Cultivating Worship,” from the Garden Work section
For information on growing Cucumber Salad ingredients, see our Plant Guide:
Cucumbers – www.gardenindelight.com/plant-guide/cucumber/
Coriander – www.gardenindelight.com/plant-guide/coriander/
Garlic – www.gardenindelight.com/plant-guide/garlic/
Dill – www.gardenindelight.com/plant-guide/dill/
©2018 Shelley S. Cramm