10 years ago, I decided I wanted to plant a garden. I had never gardened before, but I figured it wouldn’t be too hard. I was wrong. After purchasing the seeds and some seedlings, the kids and I went to work weeding the area. After weeding, we broke up the ground and turned the soil. That turned out to be WAY more difficult than I expected. The ground was very dry and the kids were barely able to get the shovel into the ground to turn the soil. But we did it. We turned the dirt, planted our seeds, watered the garden and eventually our veggies came up. Along with the veggies, a lot of weeds came up and I had trouble telling the difference between a weed and a seedling. Then the deer and rabbits and other animals visited our garden and well, it did not go as well as I had hoped.
In the Bible, we see the principle of sowing and reaping.
Our thoughts, actions, words, work, hobbies and habits are all seeds. If we plant pumpkin seeds, we get pumpkins. We cannot get a tomato from a pumpkin seed and in the same way, we cannot reap God’s blessings when we are planting sinful habits.
That brings us to this week’s reading in the book of Hosea. The book of Hosea was written over a long period of time. Months and maybe even years were passing between each chapter, so there is a lot of repetition but God was patiently waiting for Israel to heed his warnings, repent and return to Him before judgement came upon them.
Israel sought fulfillment and momentary thrills over seeking the Lord.
Like striking a match that goes out quickly, Israel was striking matches over and over trying to create their own excitement and joy in life rather than being satisfied with God.
God says of Israel in Hosea 8:7:
For they sow the wind,
and they shall reap the whirlwind.
Israel had been unfaithful to God and rejected Him and replaced him with pagan idols. God warned them but they refused to listen and continued to sow to the wind. The sowing was slow over many years, but when God’s judgement came, it was swift – like a whirlwind.
Divine discipline follows the law of sowing and reaping. If we sow bad decisions in our lives, we will suffer. Sometimes we might be tempted to think that we can get away with doing wrong, but God always sees and knows. Eventually, it does catch up with us.
The hearts of Israel were hard.
God told Israel to break up their fallow ground. The word fallow means: empty, bare, unsown and unplowed ground.
Break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the Lord,
that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
Israel had sown sin and unfaithfulness and were about to reap judgement. And so God was giving them another chance to change.
He wanted them to break up the ground of their hard and stubborn hearts. He wanted to see them become fruitful rather than dry and barren.
It was time for Israel to seek the Lord.
How was Israel to break up their fallow ground?
By seeking the Lord.
How long were they to do it?
Until the rain of righteousness came upon them.
Ground is not only softened by plowing, but also by rain. If Israel would seek God, God said he would come like never before and bless them.
What are you seeking after?
Are you living life by striking matches day in and day out, seeking momentary thrills?
Is there an absence of God in your daily life because you have been chasing the wind of worldly things and worldly goals?
How is your heart?
When you hear the word of God taught, does it soak in like a soft rain or is your heart hard and it just runs over it and washes off?
The time for a change is now.
It is time to break up every part of your heart that is stubborn and hard.
The first of the ten commandments is:
You shall have no other gods before me.
God told Israel to have no other gods before him, yet they did. And sometimes we do the same thing. We put our career, hobby, house, fun or even family before the Lord. Then we go to church and give our offerings and sing a song and think that that is enough for the week and for the next six days, we do our own thing.
In Hosea 6:6 God said:
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Jesus repeated Hosea 6:6 in Matthew 9:13 and Matthew 12:7. The people were bringing him offerings rather than themselves. God wants our love – not just our offerings. He wants our heart and so we must admit any areas of coldness, sin and rebellion. He wants us to deal with the areas that are hard.
He does not accept divided loyalty.
Seeking the Lord is not a one time decision.
Seeking the Lord is a daily decision to die to yourself.
It’s a moment by moment decision to follow Jesus.
It’s a non-stop walk with the Lord, that goes on and on your entire life, until you see him face to face.
So let’s be intentional today.
How’s the condition of your heart? Are you trusting in the Lord or trusting in yourself? It may seem like things are going well and God is going along with it – but it will not end well.
We reap what we sow.
What are you sowing?
God loves you so much. Turn your heart toward him in prayer. Repent of anything that has come between you and your relationship with God. Obey the Lord and his commands and stop drifting through life. Instead, turn to the steady rock of the Lord to be your anchor. He loves you and is faithful.
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