Friday’s post ended with me continuing to mourn as I have heinously grieved the Holy Spirit. “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.” (Ps 51:4) I have justified my sin too often instead of mourning it. I don’t even begin to deserve the mercy and grace I have received from the Lord; and worse I have not glorified Him. There’s much mourning to do. Please be in prayer for me.
When we have trusted in Jesus as our personal substitute for sin, we no longer stand condemned (Rom 8:1). Rather than wallow in guilt and shame, we realize that we stand justified before God (2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:24). Those who learn to mourn over their own sin find the heart of God. And intimate fellowship with God is the very foundation of true blessedness.
While there are things I’ve already mourned over, more continues to come up. It is a painful process, but I know this has come up because the Lord says it is time. You have plowed wickedness; You have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, Because you trusted in your own way, In the multitude of your mighty men.” (Hosea 10:12-13)
To break up my fallow ground is to till the untilled. While God could use me for His purpose, I’ve allowed my heart to harden, so it must be broken up, tilled, plowed, and prepared for implanting His Word. The prophets speaking the Word of the Lord are commanding the people to break up that land in their hearts — spiritually! “For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns.” (Jer. 4:3)
What does it mean for us to break up our fallow ground? The Hebrew noun nîr, “the tillable, untilled, or fallow ground.” It is land that could be productive, but for whatever reason has not been broken up, tilled, plowed, and prepared for planting. The prophets speaking the Word of the Lord are commanding the people to break up that land in their hearts — spiritually!
Unplowed ground won’t let a crop grow. It’s hard, preventing seeds from penetrating, germinating, and growing to maturity. If we don’t bother to prepare the soil and pull out the thorns, the seed of God’s Word will have little effect in our hearts. What’s been growing in your heart previously? Hatred, bitterness, lust, greed, fear, pride, hedonism? These must be rooted out so a new crop can be planted. Because if we continue to plant these seeds, that is what will grow. “They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; It shall never produce meal. If it should produce, Aliens would swallow it up.” (Hos. 8:7)
Taking the “wind” to mean something worthless and foolish (Prov 11:29), we can surmise that Israel’s foolishness in the past would result in a veritable storm of consequence. Indeed, in the previous verses, Hosea decries Israel’s idolatry (vs 4-6). Their foolish pursuit of false gods would reap a severe judgment from the Lord. Also at work in the proverb is the principle of multiplication: a farmer may plant one kernel of corn, but he will reap much more than that—a whole ear. In the same way, Israel’s sin of idolatry would bring forth an amplified consequence that would sweep them all away. An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God.
Today, we can see the truth of Hosea’s proverb in many ways. Those who live in unrepentant sin can expect to suffer the consequences of their sin—consequences that both “fit the crime” and exhibit a stunning intensity. Also, this statement by Hosea is a clarion call to avoid idolatry. Anything that steals our trust in the Lord, lessens our devotion to Him, or controls us can be considered an idol and should be abolished from our lives.
In this season, the Lord has brought me an opportunity to break up the unfallow ground that is hard and unused. This is a time to “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.” (Is. 55:6) To ask Him to show me what I must dislodge from my heart, so that His Word can be implanted into my hearts so that I might not sin against Him.