“For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.”
The message that Jeremiah preached is still needed today. God was speaking to His people, the “men of Judah and Jerusalem,” about their backslidden condition. They were instructed to “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.” This is a familiar object lesson that is found numerous times in the Scripture. The soil represents the heart of man, and the seed is the Word of God.
God’s Word is powerful and effective, but the condition of the heart either enhances or hinders the way God’s Word will be received. If God’s truth is not producing fruit in our lives, the problem is not with the seed, but in our hearts. Our hearts must be changed. Being faithful to the preaching services of the church is important, as well as reading the Bible consistently. But if our hearts are not made tender and receptive, we will not see the spiritual results that God desires.
The “fallow ground” is earth that is hard or has lain uncultivated. It must be plowed if the seed is expected to grow and produce fruit. The people in Jeremiah’s day were guilty of letting their hearts become hard and unbroken. They needed God’s Word, but they were to “sow not among thorns.” Ground that is not tended to produces weeds, thorns, and briers. In the New Testament, Jesus used similar language in the Parable of the Sower. In explaining this parable, Jesus said the thorns were “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things,” which our Savior said will “choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). The cares of the world, materialism, and carnal lusts hinder the Word of God. The farmer knows that the ground must be prepared before the seed is planted. If the ground is not tilled, he can only expect a crop of thorns and weeds.
This is one of the primary reasons people who attend church regularly are never really changed by the message they hear. Hearts that are not humble and broken, like
uncultivated earth, are not receptive to God’s Word. Worldliness chokes out the powerful seed of Truth. For the Word of God to bring forth the kind of fruit it is capable of, we need to break up the fallow ground in our hearts. Humbling ourselves, confessing our sins, and being truly repentant makes our hearts fertile for the Word of God.