“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”
Hosea prophesied to the nation of Israel over a period of many years. Consistent with the ministry of true prophets, he called God’s people to repentance and obedience to the Word of God. Here we find Hosea using the language of gardening or farming to illustrate biblical principles. Most people can relate to this as we have some experience in planting and reaping. Before the seed can be planted, the ground must be prepared. With proper cultivation, timely sowing, and adequate moisture, there will be a potential harvest.
The same is true in our spiritual lives. We are going to reap what we sow. In order to have spiritual growth and godly fruit, certain preparations must be made. The ground must be tilled. In the Lord’s New Testament teaching of the parables of the sower, we learn that the soil represents the heart of the individual. The heart must be made right. Hosea was calling for his people to “break up your fallow ground,” and turn to God in true repentance of their sins.
The heart is prepared for revival in repentance and seeking the Lord. If God’s people want revival, this is where it must begin. The heart needs to be made right through honest confessing of sin and seeking God sincerely. Hosea then directed his people to sow to themselves in righteousness. The seed must be planted, and of course, the seed is the Word of God. There must be obedience to the truth. As we repent of our sins and seek the Lord, endeavoring to obey God’s Word at every point, we are preparing for a spiritual harvest.
Also, the garden needs moisture. Hosea says that we should seek the Lord until “he come and rain righteousness upon you.” The rain will come. Revival is not something that man works up; it is something that God sends down. We cannot produce revival in our hearts, but we can prepare for it.
Finally, Hosea says that we will “reap in mercy.” There will be a harvest. If we plow and plant and pray, we will see the fruit begin to come. It would be very foolish for someone to go out into his yard and expect to pick vegetables or fruit if the plowing and planting has not been done. If we are serious about revival, if we want to see a spiritual harvest, it is time to seek the Lord.