Christian encouragement, christian journey, christian walk, Christianity, devotions, fallow ground, family devotions, fruit, it's time, loyalty, plowing wickedness, reaping, reaping injustice, resping injustice, seeking, seeking the Lord, sowing, trusting in my own way, view to righteousness
Hosea 10: 12 and 13 says, “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. You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your way, in your numerous warriors.”
I just love these verses. They hold such conviction for me, but there is encouragement with the conviction. Let’s pull it apart and see what we get.
“Sow with a view to righteousness.” When I read this, I find the Spirit of God asking me if I am sowing things in my life right now with His righteousness in mind. What ideas am I allowing to sink deep into my soul? What thoughts am I allowing to run free in my thinking? Am I destroying speculations and every thought that is not God honoring? Am I taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ as Second Corinthians 10:5 says? Is every television show, book, conversation and thought pattern sowing righteousness in my life? If not, why is it there? What I am sowing will not necessarily be perfect at all times, but am I at least making some progress in that direction. In the book “Unglued”, Lysa Terkuerst calls it “Imperfect Progress”. I like that. Am I making at least “imperfect progress” in the right direction? Am I sowing more seeds in view of righteousness today than I did yesterday, last week, or even last year?
The next part of this verse says to “reap in accordance with kindness”. The original translation of the word kindness can also mean loyalty. So, I must ask God’s Spirit to show me if what I am reaping in my life is loyal to those I care most about. Is what I am reaping today (from the seeds sown earlier) showing that I am faithful to Christ, my husband and the priorities that God has called me to in this season of my life? Would someone looking from the outside in know who I love and cherish? Could they easily see my loyalty, or would I have to tell them who matters most? Could they see my devotion to Christ and my husband without a word spoken from me?
“Break up your fallow ground” is the next phrase in this passage. When I think of fallow ground, I think of ground that has been left dormant. Sometimes, ground is left fallow for good reasons, but for me these words represent something that I have given up on. What area of my life have I left dormant due to my lack of faith? What have I ceased to pray for simply because God didn’t move on my time table? What area have I not touched in a while simply because I am discouraged? Where have I ceased to cultivate faithfulness as Psalm 37:3 says?
Fallow ground for me may also represent areas of confusion, hurt, or places in my life that I just don’t want to deal with; areas where I think victory is just not going to happen. Fallow ground could also be an area where dreams and excitement have slipped away, or died out due to neglect. But, this verse tells me it is time to break it up. This verse tells me that the hard places and the dry patches where I would rather not talk about need to be broken before God. I am finding that fallow ground is much better broken than left unattended. Fallow ground is ground that is being underutilized for the Kingdom and God is saying, “It’s been fallow for too long. Now is the time to break it up.”
Oh, that I would allow God to till my hard places. Oh, that He would break up the places in me that pride has kept unfertile and unusable! I pray that my fallow ground would be placed in Him today so that His gentle hands can break it up, His seeds can be planted and His harvest can be produced. I pray that my rigid places of fallowness be turned into great fields of harvest for His Name.
Hosea goes on to say “it is time to seek the LORD.” This verse begs the question, “What am I truly seeking?” Am I only seeking the Lord, or am I seeking anything and everything that I believe will make things more satisfactory in this moment? Am I trying to hear what God says on the matters at hand, or do I seek people’s advice and authors’ interpretations? Hosea is clearly telling me that it is time to seek the Lord and to quit playing with other ideas that are not of God. I need Him and it is time, right now to seek Him. How long do I seek Him? “Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.” This next section of Hosea tells me to never give up, to never settle for less than Christ’s righteousness. I am reminded in Isaiah 64:6 that my righteousness is as filthy rags, so why would I possibly settle for anything other than His righteousness? I need His Spirit to give me the perseverance to keep seeking Him until He rains His righteousness, His grace, His beauty on my life.
The next part of these verse say, “You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten the fruit of lies.” This passage assures me that I have some repenting to do. I must ask the Holy Spirit to show me areas where I am plowing wickedness. Just because I have decided to till the fallow ground doesn’t meant that I am naturally going to sow the right things in the soil of my life. Where am I sowing bad seed? Where am I allowing sin to reign? Where is wickedness playing a role in my life?
This verse also causes me to ask God where injustice has played a role in my relationships lately. Where have I judged people without love? Where have I allowed social biases to go unimpeded? Where have I allowed prejudice to over-ride kindness and grace? I need to listen to His voice and change accordingly.
This verse also causes me to ask myself what lies have I eaten lately? What programs have I watched, or books have I read that has fed me propaganda which I readily ate simply because of the individual who said it? What false teaching have I allowed in my circle simply because I liked what they said and wanted it to be true? What deception of Satan have I allowed in my heart that caused my relationship with God to falter?
Plowing wickedness, reaping injustices and eating the fruit of lies takes a lot of effort. When we sow the wrong things, there’s no time to sow the good things! But, how does this happen? How does a girl who wants all Jesus has for her develop fallow ground, plow wickedness, stop seeking the Lord fully, reap injustice and eat the fruit of lies so readily?
The latter part of this passage in Hosea answers my questions. It says, “Because you have trusted in your way, in your numerous warriors.” Ach! It’s that trust thing again! If I am eating the fruit of lies, its’ a great indicator that I have stopped trusting in the God of the universe that empowers me with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24). When I am trusting in the Spirit of God in me, His fruit abounds and I am satisfied. I won’t have room in my spiritual tummy for the fruit of lies. I will be filled with Christ. Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that He came to give us an abundant life; that means a life that is fully satisfied in Him. Psalm 81:10 tells us to open our mouths wide and He will fill them. If we are filling ourselves with anything other than Christ, we are trusting in “other warriors” as the book of Hosea says. Psalm 141:3 says, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” Verse four goes on to say, “Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice deeds of wickedness with men who do iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies.”
I pray that God will guard my mouth from eating the fruit of lies. I pray that He will break up the fallow spaces in my heart and that He will empower me to seek Him until He rains righteousness on myself, my family and my church. I pray that God will show me the areas where I trust in my own way and not His and that when others see my life they will not guess where my loyalties lie, but will know that I am a Jesus’ girl through and through.
Oh great God, let us only eat of the fruit of Your vine. Break up our fallow ground and help us to seek You until You come and reign over us for all eternity. In the mighty Name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.