Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.Hosea 10:12(NASB)
The Bible is filled with truths on reaping and sowing, indeed the apostle Paul reminds us that 'we reap what we sow', either to evil or to good. And like Paul, the prophet Hosea also recognised the deeper truth that is packed within these simple words - that the fruit of righteousness produced in man is only from God, and that it is due to His loving-kindness and tender-mercy that the trusting heart is able to partake of any righteousness.
Indeed, the fruit of the Spirit that forms in the life of a believer, is a manifestation of God's mercy and grace, working in and through His child, for Jesus said, without Me you can do nothing. But a Christian who has become lukewarm and careless towards God or one that doubts the truth of His word needs to break up the fallow ground. He needs to revisit God's word of truth and to root-out weeds of bitterness, legalism, unforgiveness, unbelief, disinterest or distrust so that the seeds of righteousness sown in our hearts can take root, as we grow in grace, to the glory of our merciful God.
It was Israel to whom the prophet Hosea was writing these solemn words, for individually, and as a nation, they had rebelled against the Lord. They had followed after other gods, committed spiritual adultery, strayed far from the God of their fathers, and become estranged from the One Who chose them to be His own special inheritance.
And Hosea was calling the errant nation of Israel to repent of their sins; return to their first love and seek the Lord with all their heart if they were to avert the rapidly approaching judgement that had been prophesied by so many holy men of God.
Sow to yourselves in righteousness and reap according to mercy, Hosea warned. Break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord. The people of God were to rend their hearts in sincerity and truth and not to simply tear their clothes in an outward show of mock remorse and other hypocritical actions.
If the coming judgement of God was to be averted the people of God had to rend their hearts and not their garments. They were to sow with a view to righteousness and reap in accordance to mercy and loving-kindness. They were to live in a way that honoured the Lord. They were to have a change of heart and not simply give an outward show of remorse.
They were to break up the uncultivated ground in their hardened and rebellious hearts. "Break up your fallow ground.." they were told. For too long Israel had gone her own way. The time had come for them to seek the Lord, with their whole heart. They were to seek after Him, and to keep on seeking His favour, They were to search for Him until He heard, and answers them - until He come and teach them righteousness and pour His righteous gift of salvation upon them.
But the call to break up the fallow ground and turn over the unploughed earth is an equally urgent call to the body of Christ, in this increasingly apostate Church age, as it was at the time of Hosea. Today as then, many Christians have strayed far away from the glorious gospel of grace and are proclaiming another gospel and looking to a different Jesus.
Many are seeking after other gods. Many are pursuing a different gospel - a works-based gospel or a 'cross-less' gospel; a seeker-friendly gospel or a legalistic gospel; a social gospel; a prosperity gospel; a self-centred Gospel - a gospel devoid of truth. Many are running after a Christless gospel that has strayed far away from the foundational doctrine that was once offered to the saints by the apostles and prophets of the New Testament.
May we take to heart this serious warning of Hosea and sow to ourselves in righteousness. May we examine ourselves and break up the fallow ground in our own lives. May we sow with a view to righteousness so that we may reap according to His kindness and grace, knowing that it is time to seek the Lord.
Let us root out any bitterness, un-forgiveness, legalism, and unbelief that is lurking on our hearts. May we cast off the works of darkness and walk in the light as He is in the light. May we be led by the Spirit so that we will not carry out the desires of the flesh or become hardened of heart. And let us remember that now is the accepted time to break up the fallow ground and seek the Lord - tomorrow may be too late.
Loving Father thank you for the reminder that I need to root out all bitterness, un-forgiveness, legalism, disinterest, distrust, and unbelief in my heart, for I want to sow unto myself righteousness, knowing that it is only through Your loving-mercy that such fruit will grow. I pray that I will not delay in breaking up the fallow ground in my own heart, knowing that today is the day I need to seek You with every fibre of my being – this I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.