Updated: Sep 16, 2018
Our key text today is Hosea 10:12 (NKJV) 'Sow to yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.'
Hosea lived as a Prophet to the northern Kingdoms of Israel in the 8th Century BCE. His whole life is played out as a metaphor of God's relationship with Israel. Israel was once again in rebellion, hardhearted and disobedient and through the Prophet Hosea they are called to REPENT & REFORM.
Repentance is not spoken of much in today's Christian culture, neither is Reformation because we live with gospel that highlights 'God has done it all, so we don't have to'. This Gospel of course is erroneous because there are important things we are called to as evidence and fruit of our acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ.
WITHOUT REFORMATION (Change of behaviour) THERE IS NO TRUE REPENTANCE
The Bible says in Matthew 3:8 (nkjv) 'Therefore bear fruit of repentance'
(niv) 'Produce fruit in keeping with repentance'
(amp) 'Let your lives prove your change of heart'
Am I advocating a works program? NO not at all, but the scripture is very clear that SALVATION ONLY COMES THROUGH REPENTANCE, and at the core of repentance is a change of lifestyle (Being Re-formed) and that is the true evidence of repentance and indeed true salvation.
The UNRENEWED HEART is HARD - Hardened by the world, hardened by sin and transgression and cannot receive the grace of God unless it is first ploughed up by the word of God.
The Bible says: 'I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh (Ezekiel 36:26)
The Holy Spirit is working with those who truly repent to CONFORM to God's order of life, sowing the word and purposes of God into our lives. As our life is re-formed (reshaped) into the image of Christ, into his spiritual likeness we begin to walk in the blessings of God, thus encouraging us. John 16:13 says 'When the Spirit of Truth comes He will guide you. . . . .'
Without the willingness to allow God 'to break up the fallow unused ground in our lives' we will only live with human understanding, yet as we submit ourselves to the work of God's Word and His Holy Spirit we gain insight, revelation and understanding about the best course of action for our lives.
Most people want to live their own lives without hassle, but the believer has been called to something far greater than mediocrity. the believer is called to be an agent of change, an influencer, one who can sow righteousness into the lives of other people.
NEXUS: some years ago there was a group called Nexus functioning in a local church on the Gold Coast, Queensland. The purpose of this group was to introduce unsaved husbands and wives to the Gospel through good godly social activity, where the gospel was demonstrated in a social environment. Over a number of years there were a significant number of unsaved partners who came to know Christ as Saviour through seeing their partner and other Christians interact without the trappings of the world.
Many of the people who were saved would never come near a Church, but through getting to know other Christians in a non-threatening social environment they connected and began to understand what we believe. (The Holy Spirit was at work breaking up the fallow ground).
God was ploughing up their hear and conditioning it, ready to receive His Word. The group gently sowed God's Word (His Character / his Likeness) in their hearts and in time 'reaped in mercy' with love , grace and gentleness a harvest for the Kingdom of God.
It was PURPOSEFUL social interaction, - in the world, but not acting as the world, sowing the seeds of God's grace.
OUR HEARTS ARE LIKE A FIELD: Jesus taught a parable in Mark 4:3-20 about the farmer who went to sow a field. The farmer had some mixed results, perhaps because where he sowed had not been properly prepared. If you and I do not actively work on the field of our heart, to cultivate it, the only crop we are likely to get will be the natural weeds that come as a result of the environment in which we have grown up or weeds which the devil deliberately scatters in our lives.
God calls us as believers to SOW RIGHTEOUSNESS - that planting GOOD SEED - the principles of God, doing what is right in God's eyes. Living a RE-FORMED LIFE, changed by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us 'the word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword. . . . . it is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.'
God's word is alive and will change us, it will break up the hard empty unused ground if we take the time to sow it into our lives.
BREAK UP YOUR FALLOW GROUND FOR IT IS TIME TO SEEK THE LORD
Fallow ground is land not being used productively - it is uncultivated, sitting idle, hard unyielding, often overgrown with weeds (Cares of this world)
As believers the soil of our heart can become fallow, unused, unproductive, because we do not action God's word. We can become complacent and indifferent. That indifference, that hardness will destroy the joy of our salvation. Unbelief must be broken up if God is to plant something new and fruitful in your heart.
Have you grown callouses on your heart through not responding to God's word. You've stopped listening to your local preacher, stopped responding, no longer allowing God's word to challenge you because the messenger is flawed.
Only with heartfelt repentance and confession to God will we begin to plough deep enough to allow the Word to break up the fallow ground.
God's promise is that if we call on Him and seek His face 'He will rain righteousness upon us'.
The Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.' (Psalm 84:11)