April 3rd

Sowing and Reaping

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. But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors, the roar of battle will rise against your people, so that all your fortresses will be devastated-- as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.  Thus will it happen to you, O Bethel, because your wickedness is great. When that day dawns, the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.   Hosea 10:12-15 NIV

 

This is a stunning contrast of two types of farmers in life.   One sowed seeds in God’s kingdom and the other sowed seeds in Satan’s kingdom.  Hosea wrote in a time when the people of Israel were sowing seeds in wickedness, and we can plainly see the consequences of their deliberate turning from God:  destruction and devastation.   Satan specializes in enticing people to leave God’s path and then destroying them when they do so.  Once we depart from God’s ways, we’re unprotected targets for the enemy. 

 

Sowing righteousness in our lives yields healing from the destruction and devastation of the past.   No matter how far we have strayed into the camp of the enemy, we can turn back to God.  Like the Father of the prodigal son Luke 15:11-32, God will welcome us back with open arms.  Granted, there may be consequences of our sin that may not be removed, but God will help us heal and move forward into his good plans for our lives. 

 

There are many ways to sow righteousness.  Some examples include: tithing, sharing with others, doing good works, treating our enemies with love, using our words to build others up, abiding by the laws of our government, using our spiritual gifts to bless the body of Christ, etc..  As we walk with God in and sow seeds in his kingdom, we’ll begin to reap his blessings according to his unfailing love for us. 

 

God calls us to “break up the unplowed ground” in our lives.  These are areas that we have cultivated habitual sin or just can’t seem to get under control.  Such areas have hardened our hearts by the deceitfulness of sin like dry and crusty ground (Hebrews 3:13).  They need to be tilled under and replenished with God’s goodness and life.

 

The first step in breaking the unplowed ground is to repent from our sin and seek God.  The Amplified Bible says “it is time to seek the Lord, to inquire for and of Him, and to require His favor” (12).    As we turn from our sinful ways, we seek God by studying his word, worshiping him, inviting him to take control of our lives and yielding to the Holy Spirit’s promptings in our everyday living. 

 

As we seek God, he will call our attention to the crusty ground in our lives and help us break it down and remove it as we are able to deal with it.   The tilling process begins when we start applying God’s truth to the lies behind our sinful habits.  As the fertile soil is cultivated, we will find that the seeds of restoration and life will grow in us.  

 

Hosea mentioned that there will be a “shower of perfect righteousness” that will come in due time for those who have sowed righteousness.   God imparts perfect righteousness to us through our faith in Jesus Christ.  This is the shower that Hosea was referring to.   With the Holy Spirit living in us, we are empowered NOW to walk in obedience to God and reap the subsequent blessings (Romans 8:11,13).   In this way, God’s righteousness will literally clean us up from all our sinful habits.  We have peace with God right now through the blood of Jesus and can enter into his presence with confidence (Ephesians 3:12). 

 

Questions for further thought:

 

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, Thank you for the ultimate gift of salvation through your Son Jesus. Thank you for loving me so much that you gave me this gift that I could never earn.  Please forgive me for tolerating sin in my life.  I specifically confess the following areas of sin and ask your forgiveness through the blood of Jesus: __________ (list).  I turn from that sin now and ask for your help in breaking up the hardened ground in my heart.  Please create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me to follow you.  I commit to seeking you daily from this point forward.  Thank you, Father!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”