The Plowman

Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness, 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 righteousness on you.”

Observation: Hosea has spent several chapters reminding Israel in stark language why destruction was upon them. They had abandoned God’s love and provision to pursue self sufficiency. Thinking the grass greener elsewhere they had left His protective covering and now would experience His disciplines. This is a reprise of something God had said in Deuteronomy 28:63: “Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please Him to ruin and destroy you.” Then, in verse 12, He presents the pathway for their return to intimacy.

Application: None of us has a corner on perpetual comfort. See the lengths to which God will go to discipline those He loves? What an astounding commitment He has to my good, even to the point of bringing me to destruction if necessary to win again my full devotion. How unbending He is! How inflexible His standards!

There are always choices laid before me. Like Israel, if I would not want to become victim to my oppressors, I must voluntarily run back to His open arms. He tells me that the way to do that is to sow myself to righteousness, to invest in doing good out of a pure heart set on pleasing Him. Then comes the fascinating phrase, “break up your unplowed ground.”

What am I to understand from this phrase? Fallow, unplowed ground can be among the most beautiful of sights. Rolling hills of native prairie grasslands strewn with a profusion of wildflowers are a sight unsurpassed. Yet such a field is not “productive” in the sense of yielding life-giving fruit.

Similarly, Hosea challenges me to admit that there are depths of my heart I have not yet opened to His full influence. I have been overly protective of full exposure, trusting firmly held doctrine or tradition to allow some part of my heart to remain parched and hardened like a field unbroken by the deep plowing only He can do.

He wants to sunder every hardened place, to bring gentle spring rains that soften and melt those hard places of hidden woundings and fear. But He will only do that at my invitation. He will not trespass my welcome, but remains external until invited to have His way fully.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for reserving unplowed ground in my heart. I yield this place to You, Lord, admitting some fear in doing so, yet confident that Your only desire is to bring me into deeper intimacy with You.

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