Break Up Your Fallow Ground Hos.10:12 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The Lord commanded Israel to break up their fallow ground. Fallow ground has lain uncultivated, unused, and unproductive for a period of time. Israel had plowed wickedness and they had reaped iniquity [Hos 10:13]. They were admonished to sow righteousness and reap mercy. The Lord said to them, “It is time to seek the Lord.”
Imagine your life as fertile but unproductive land [similar to the parable of the sower and the seed]. It has the capacity to be very fruitful but it lies fallow. If your ground lies fallow, then to you we say the same thing that the Lord said to Israel, Break up your fallow ground. It is time that your ground becomes productive for the Lord.
In order to break up your fallow ground and make it productive you need to:
Quit plowing wickedness – Hos 10:13 – when you plow wickedness, you reap iniquity – this is not just sowing wickedness; this is plowing wickedness – Israel cultivated wickedness – they labored to sow iniquity – like Eliphaz said in Job 4:8, “they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same” – Israel’s trouble with idolatry, for instance, was exacerbated by the fact that they planted groves and set up altars in every high place – they covered the country with idols – you and I are always going to have a challenge in dealing with sin in our lives – but you can really minimize the work of sin in your life by limiting every convenient avenue for sin – so the first thing to do is to quit plowing wickedness. When you plow wickedness, you take otherwise productive land and make it unproductive. It becomes fallow [idle]. There is no way to produce the fruit of righteousness in fallow ground. Cease from your wicked imaginations, quit looking at things that entice you, control your affections and lusts, quit justifying your sin, etc. Then,
Remove the weeds and brush – Hos 10:8 – when Israel’s high places were destroyed, thorns and thistles came up on every altar – when you plow wickedness, thorns and thistles come up instead of harvestable crops – the farmland north of our church is filled with tall weeds – if you were going to use that field to plant grain sorghum, you would have to clear off the weeds and brush that have come up – likewise, you have to get the trash out of your life – and you should get it out all the way down to the roots – when we turned half of the Terrell ranch into cultivation we used huge root plows to get the roots of the brush out of the soil – if you don’t get the roots, it is impossible to prepare the soil. Root out anger, envy, covetousness, lasciviousness, bitterness, pride, deceit, etc. Quit watching the wrong movies, quit going to the wrong websites, quit listening to those things that don’t edify you or glorify God, get rid of the things in your pantries and cabinets that don’t belong in your body, quit wasting your time with trivial games and media, get rid of the stuff that draws your heart away from God and get out of every relationship that crowds out the Lord. All of these things choke the fruit of righteousness. Then,
Prepare the soil – Hos 10:11 – the Lord said, “Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods” – if you merely remove the weeds and brush but you don’t prepare the soil for something else to grow in their place, then you are going to end up with weeds and brush again – this is like disking the property to the north of us and then not planting anything on it – what comes up when it lies fallow is weeds and sunflowers – the soil is fertile and has produced crops before – so if the soil is properly prepared, then it can become productive again – you must prepare the soil for seed – in the parable of the sower and the seed, the soil that is productive is good ground [without rocks, thorns and thistles] picturing a good and honest heart – so you need to prepare your heart to be good and honest before the Lord. You need a heart that delights in the Lord, enjoys goodness and despises sin, and that is absolutely honest with God about what is true and what is false. Good soil is necessary for good fruit. The better the soil, the better the fruit. Then,
Sow righteousness – Hos 10:12 – the Lord told Israel to sow in righteousness, reap in mercy – the Lord said that he would rain righteousness upon Israel – and when you sow righteousness the Lord will rain righteousness on you – the Bible says, “the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit,” [Prov 12:12] – and “the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise,” [Prov 11:30]. You sow righteousness through a steady diet of the word of God, through continual fellowship with the Lord, through pure and honest thinking, through the distribution and preaching of the word of God, through walking in the Spirit as opposed to the flesh, and through serving Jesus Christ and glorifying God. Then righteousness can produce its own fruit [like the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of the word of God].
Conclusion: for the Lord said, “it is time to seek the Lord [Hos 10:12] – when you seek the Lord as a Christian your desire is to please him and to do his will – if your ground is fallow and you seek him, he is going to lead you to quit plowing wickedness, to remove the wickedness from your life, to prepare your heart for him and to start sowing righteousness – you will see your ground becoming fruitful if you do these things – and if you are not yet a Christian, then seek the Lord and he will save you and lead you into a wonderfully productive Christian life full of fruit and joy in the Lord. You will never produce righteousness until you have righteousness in you.