Break up the unplowed ground!
Scripture reading for September 9th: Hosea 9-11
“Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to see the Lord, until He comes and showers righteousness on you. But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception.” Hosea 10:12-13a
Hosea loved farming illustrations and so do I! I loved to plow ground when I was younger. We would often plow under red clover that was sowed along with the oats crop. Red clover would produce nitrogen that would make the corn grow better the next year. It would be a lush crop and then we would plow it under. The dirt turning over and the smell of that fresh soil was special. Usually a flock of seagulls would follow the plow to pick up worms and a chicken hawk would scout out scampering mice as they ran down the furrow. At night, coyotes and foxes would also come out and find rodents running in the furrows. You could see them in the tractor lights as you plowed each round.
Hosea’s illustration was not about plowing dirt, but about the soil of hearts that had grown hard and had not produced a crop in a long time. The ground had to be broken up to receive the seed in hope of a crop. The sowing had to change, too. Instead of wickedness, false promises, lawsuits and idolatry growing and making bad seed, the people needed to sow a crop of righteousness so they could reap a crop of unfailing love. (Hosea 10:4-5, 12)
God often takes the weeds of our lives and uses those bad seeds to become fertilizer for a good crop. For instance, if we were delivered from a life of drugs and drunkenness, we are able to minister to those who are bound by those habits. Someone else might have struggled with sexual temptations and upon breaking up their fallow ground, the old habits enable that person to minister to others who have similar strongholds. The plow has to be put to the hardened and overgrown ground to prepare it for the crop of righteousness.
Waiting for the harvest requires patience. Hosea encourages the people to seek the Lord until He comes and showers righteousness on them. We must ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking and knock and keep on knocking until the answer and crop comes. Prayer keeps an open line with the Lord and keeps us moving forward in hope and expectation.
In simple summary, we must keep our heart’s soil soft and teachable through brokenness. We must sow good seed of right living and make right choices to obey and follow God’s word and laws. As we sow righteous living, we will reap the fruit of His eternal and unfailing love. A broken and contrite heart, He will not despise! (Psalm 51:17)