“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up the fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12
The Jews of Hosea’s day had hardened their hearts to the Word of God. They had left off its warmth and light and huddled around the coldness of their own ideas. How easy it is for us to set aside God’s Word in favour of man’s opinions. God said to Israel, as He may very well be saying to you, “thou didst trust in thy way” (v. 13b). Maybe God’s Word has taken a back seat in your life. What is the answer to such a dilemma?
First, “…break up the fallow ground…” There may be hardened ground in your heart that needs to be softened so that the seed of God’s Word can once again begin to penetrate and impact your life. Start to cultivate the soil of your heart. Cleanse your heart from the hardened soil of indifference, till up the dangerous roots of worldly affections, and plough up deep rooted weeds and thorns of sin and selfishness. This is the preparatory step. It is the initial step of obedience whereby we signify to God that the soil of our hearts has been left unkempt and uncared for. What sinful barriers may be preventing the seed of God’s Word from penetrating your heart and changing you?
Second, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness…” God’s Word, once more, must become the source and rule of righteousness in your life. It is as simple as returning to that which you have been neglecting. Once the soil has been cultivated, then the seed of the Word must begin to be scattered once more.
Third, “seek the Lord…” The farmer works hard to prepare the soil and to plant the seed, but he should do it all with his eye toward God who is the only One Who can bless his efforts and pour down upon him the showers of blessing. We can prepare the soil of our hearts and spread the seed of God’s Word, but we must always do it with an eye toward the One who brings the increase and blessing.
Dr. Howard Hendricks once had a lady come to him boasting about how many times she had been through the Bible. Hendricks looked at her and said, “Madam, the real question is how many times the Bible has been through you.” As God looks within your heart, I trust He finds cultivated soil and much seed.
This article appears in the July/August 2010 Open Bible Bulletin.