Hosea 10:12 (NIV)
Sow righteousness for yourselves,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
and showers his righteousness on you.
The ground must lay fallow for a season to enable it to produce a crop. When treating fallow soil, it is important to till mulch (decomposed organic material) into it to enrich it. Proper mulching requires that the organic material be regularly turned. This allows the old material to decompose, and become a rich, dark material, from which the roots of the plants can obtain the necessary nutrients. This tilling of decomposed organic material represents us dying to the things of the world, and allowing God to make our weaknesses into our strengths. Wisdom is the nutrient of healthy soil, learning from our mistakes.
We need to be constantly tilling the soil of our hearts, particularly in the cold seasons of our lives. Winter and Fall Seasons are the times of year when soil lays fallow, and winter speaks of those difficult times in our lives. It is when we are in a season of spiritual barrenness, when trials come, that we must till up the mulch in our hearts. All that old, rotten material must be thoroughly turned over, so that God can decompose it, and cause it to be transformed into something that will enrich our hearts to receive His word.
We can see from this scripture that God wants us to plow our soiled hearts so that He can rain righteousness on us. The rains and snow of winter, fall, and spring all contribute to adding certain trace minerals back into the garden soil. So also, God’s Spirit is the only source of righteousness for us...given freely through the shed blood of His son Jesus Christ. If we plow improperly (wickedness), we will reap injustice.
For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, “Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns.” (NAS)
It is also important WHERE we plow our soil. In the Northwest where I am from, the thorny blackberry plants and other thorny vines are prolific. These hearty plants are able to grow in just about any kind of soil. Any good gardener will tell you that it is a mistake to grow your garden amongst the thorns, for they will overgrow your garden plants, and choke out any fruit producing ability. I have seen blackberry vines overgrow an entire acre of land in just a few seasons of growth, unless the roots are pulled out. You can hack it down, but if the roots remain, it will just grow back. These thorny plants represent the kind of things we allow to reside in our hearts...cares of life, greed, and bitterness:
Thorns speak of weed-like plants, which are good for nothing except being uprooted, and thrown into the burn pile. We live in the country, where most people with land have burn piles when they are allowed to burn brush. God will burn up all of the things in our life that are not eternal and lasting. Christians spend far too much of their time pursuing careers, riches, and all the “things” of life which will make them at ease, giving very little consideration to their eternal destiny. Bitterness comes from unforgiveness, and holding a grudge against those who have wronged us. We must keep the soil of our hearts tenderhearted, and kind, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32).
Jesus spoke of different types of soil upon which the word of God is sown. Thorny soil is the kind that represented the cares of life, the desire for riches, and things like these. Let’s take a look at ourselves today and see how we can prepare the soil of our hearts to be ready for what God wants to do through us. consider what thorns that need to be uprooted from your garden:
Dear Lord, today we pray that You will guide us as we prepare our hearts to be what You want for each of us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.