Sow for 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. (Hos 10:12)
Hosea is a book that contains many warnings to both Israel and Judah about their sinful ways. It also contains useful advice about how the people should change their ways and it also foretells the coming Messiah and His works. Towards the end of the book we find this wonderful verse that promises God will pour righteousness upon those that seek Him, a great echo of the advice Jesus would give later to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Within this verse is this advice to break up the fallow ground. There is great benefit in leaving ground fallow, that is not using it for growing crops, because it allows the ground to recover strength and be better able to produce more in later years. But there is also a great danger in fallow ground, because as it is not turned over by the plough, it becomes hard and will not allow seed to gain root in it. This was one such type of ground that Jesus talked about in His parable of the sower.
We face the danger that we may become complacent and that our attitudes or actions may become increasingly inconsistent with the way the Lord would want us to be. This does not mean that we suddenly start a sinful habit, but rather over time our attitudes harden, actions that we would earlier have reject as wrong, slowly become acceptable and there is a creeping weakening of our stand on issues of love, holiness and righteousness. There is a place to regularly, “break up the fallow ground.” That is to seriously examine our attitude and approach to things in all areas of our live and see if we have allowed things that are inconsistent with the live of Christ to develop. When Paul writes to the Corinthians about the Lord’s supper, he says, “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.” (1Co 11:31) We have a responsibility as Christians to regularly assess our lives so that we continue to please the Lord and give glory to His name. It is easy to allow small errors to creep in until we are doing something clearly and plainly displeasing to the Lord. A regular diet of self-assessment will keep us on the right path. This does not mean that we should be consumed by introspection, to the effect that we become paralysed by fear of doing something wrong, but rather maintain a sensible assessment of ourselves as prompted by the Holy Spirit.
There is a warning in Paul’s advice that if we don’t do this, God will himself step in and judge us and as the writer of the Hebrew letter also warns, ‘no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful’ (Heb 12:11a). However, both Hebrews and Paul clearly indicate such judgment from God is for our ultimate good!
Do you have an attitude that regularly considers your manner of life so that you maintain a life pleasing to the Lord, and correct areas where you find inconsistencies? And if you are judged by Him, do you respond positively to the correction and bring your life back into alignment with His will?