HOSEA 10:12: “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: What is the condition of my heart? Is my heart a fertile field for the Word and the Spirit of God – or is it “fallow ground”? I grew up in Southern California, and not in a farming community. When I read this verse it does not have immediate impact or context to me. However, when I discovered the definition of “fallow ground” – a new understanding began to open up.
“Fallow ground” is not ground that has never been tended or prepared. Rather, it is ground that has been tilled, but never planted. It has been left unproductive and it begins to harden. We had dirt like this when I was a boy. It was my job to keep the weeds at bay. When we regularly turned over the ground around the plants it was an easy job to do. However, when it was neglected something strange happened. The ground grew hard, the plants began to die, but the weeds thrived and increased. Left unattended, what once was a planter filled with flowers and plants, quickly became a haven of weeds and insects.
I will never forget when I finally got back to weeding, it took twice as much effort as before. The battle had increased and the weeds were winning. How similar is this to our lives? When we come to Jesus Christ in salvation our hearts are wide open to the things of God. We rejoice in becoming a child of God. It seems like everything has changed and wonderful new days are ahead. We can put our hearts on “cruise” and this experience will last for a while. However, if we do not attend to the soil, if we do not plant a new crop in the place of the old, we are suddenly faced with the recurring battle of our old attitudes and sins popping up in an ever hardening heart.
What is the answer? We must keep our hearts humble, open, and tender toward the Lord. We must allow the Holy Spirit to break up the “fallow ground”, and through God’s Word, prayer, and fellowship we must begin to sow seeds of righteousness and love. When we face an old feeling of anger, selfishness, lust, etc… – we must come to the Cross of Christ for forgiveness and cleansing. Yet, we must do something in addition to simply asking for forgiveness. We must also replace this “weed” with the “seeds” of God’s Word and allow the fruit of the Spirit to grow in our lives. If we do this, God is faithful, He will rain upon us with His grace and righteousness.
Recently I received a letter from our lawn fertilizing service. They indicated that many of the weed killing agents they had previously used had now been banned from use in residential lawns. The next statement got my attention – “The most effective deterrent against weeds is a healthy lawn.” The best deterrent against sin is a healthy heart. It is not a heart that is perfect, but a heart that is growing in the Word of God and the character of Christ. This requires surrender of the lawn (our heart) to the master gardener (the Spirit). We cannot change out hearts – but we can prepare them and plant the seed. God is faithful when we do this and will bring forth His fruitful harvest in our lives!
Lord, help me keep my heart tender, humble, and directed toward You. When I see a weed that is beginning to grow let me come to You in sincere repentance. Remove the weed (forgive and cleanse me) and in its’ place plant Your seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Help me become a truly fruitful field of Your Spirit!
In Jesus Name!