Today’s reading: Hosea 8-14.
Like cows eating the grain as they walked over it to thresh it, the people of Israel were used to the easy life. All that was about to change. God was going to judge them and take away all their abundance because of their many years of idolatry. Before the hammer of judgment falls, Hosea calls out to them and offers them one more chance to return to God. It will take some work, though – farming work for the soul.
“Break up your unplowed ground.”
A hard heart won’t grow any spiritual fruit. Jesus compared it to the roadway hardened by heavy traffic. It’s got to be broken up, plowed, turned over, softened. Then it can receive the seed and the rain in order to grow and bear a harvest. The way to break up the hard ground is by seeking God, and the time to do it is now.
“Sow for yourselves righteousness.”
We put all kinds of seed in the ground of our souls. But like the computer mantra, “garbage in garbage out”, we’ve got to plant good seed to reap a good harvest. Hosea called on Israel to live according to God’s will and stop planting the weeds of disobedience.
“Reap the fruit of unfailing love.”
We don’t control the rain, but if we plow our hard hearts and sow seeds of obedience God promises to send the rain. Then we will gather a bountiful harvest. Mercy, unfailing love, and righteousness will fill our souls to overflowing. But it starts by seeking the LORD. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found. Seek ye first the kingdom of God. Seek ye the LORD.
Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh; so I will put a yoke on her fair neck. I will drive Ephraim, Judah must plow, and Jacob must break up the ground. 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. Hosea 10:11-12
Our hearts are like a field, and if we let them alone the only crop we shall get will be the natural weeds of the soil, together with those tares which the evil spirit is quite sure to scatter whether we sow good seed or not. We are to sow beside all waters, but we must not neglect to sow to ourselves. There is need that we sow good seed in our own gardens, or else it will little avail us to have planted and watered others. – Charles Spurgeon