Jeremiah 4:3-4 | Hosea 10:12
For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,
And take away the foreskins of your hearts…” -Jeremiah 4:3&4
Throughout the history of God’s people, time and again they had wandered away from God’s commandments and fallen into sin and wickedness. But God’s heart—His love and compassion for them desired to see them come back to Him- hence he told them through the prophets: Break up your fallow ground – a metaphor spoken by the prophet to the people of God (Refer also Hosea 10:12) to prepare/till their hearts for a good sowing to be done.
Jesus explained through the parable of the sower that the field represents the heart of man—this needs ploughing before planting! Ploughing makes the soil (the heart) become ready for sowing! Mark 4:20 speaks of those who hear the Word and accept it – that’s a good heart! We need to capture the essence of God’s Word! “Break up your fallow ground” meant the ground was “plough-able”—the reason it was not productive was that it wasn’t ploughed!
One meaning of the seed is the Word of God, it can also mean the life of God, our character, etc. If our heart retains the word sown, the imperishable life of God will flow through us. 1Peter 2: 1& 2 says: “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow…” James 1:21 says: “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” The previous verses deal with human anger. The door of anger is to be shut to prevent entry of filth and wickedness!
The emphasis on ‘ALL’ tells us that not a bit of those traits are to be retained in our heart. Let all be removed and our hearts be cleared! So our attitude to receive the Word from the above two verses can be summed up thus:
Like new born babes- the only nourishment is to be the Word
Long for it- a deep desire
Pure- no adulteration – nothing added to it
Receive with meekness- in humility
The grand plan of God is revealed from Genesis to Revelation is to reclaim His Kingdom and redeem His people! The prophecy given about Christ in Genesis 3:15, 16 is fulfilled in Revelation 5:5,6- The Lamb that was slain has all power and authority and He redeemed the people from all walks of life!
This grand plan continues to be worked out through the church today. But down the line, we become callous, lose focus and slow down when we encounter different difficult situations, persecutions and trials. But our times of fasting and prayer helps us get back on track!
Deuteronomy 30:2- 4 says, If you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice:
God will restore you
Will help possess your promised land
Circumcise your hearts
Be willing to be reinstated to the position of the redeemed of the Lord!
We can find at least four things to be ploughed out of the soil:
1. Wood Stumps
The wood stump has a deep root—if not uprooted will grow back again!
Root of Bitterness : Hebrews 12:14-15 & Ephesians 4: 30-31- Get rid of it
Bitterness has two close relatives: jealousy and selfish ambition (James 3: 14, 16)- with which all wickedness will follow. Let us take victory in this area by dealing with the root of bitterness. Like Jabez in 1Chronicles 4:10Pray: Lord release me from the painful prison of bitterness and set me free… instead enlarge my territory. Instead pursue peace with all people! Go after it! Pray for God’s peace as you commit your life.
Love of money -the root of all evil - 1Timothy 6:10
We need money but going after it amassing it, too much concerns about money are all roots that need uprooting as it can block the Word of God from penetrating
2. Hard Soil
In the fallow ground, the soil becomes hard over time. Jesus rebuked His disciples of hardness of heart which is closely related to unbelief- Mark 16:14.
In the Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mark 4: 30-32) –the small seed grew into a big tree! Don’t underestimate yourself as a tiny seed- you have the potential to grow into a big tree—have faith and put away the unbelieving /evil heart.(Hebrews 3:12). As in Joel 3:10, let say that “I am strong.”
3. Large Rock
To remove large rock isn’t easy by one’s own effort- need others’ help. There are large rocks in people’s lives such as: Unforgiveness, self-pity, sorrow over past life, lost opportunity, etc
Isaiah 43:18- God says He is doing something new in you… causing streams to rise in the desert, making a pathway!!
Ask for prayer in getting help to remove those large rocks in your life!
Depending on each person, the thorns in your life vary
Matt.13:22; Mark 4:19, Luke 8:14 —temptations, lust, self-indulgence, pride, anger, addictions, greed etc
When a field goes unplanted for years, it often becomes covered with thorns, weeds. May the fire from heaven burn all the chaff!
The Sower has to sow:
In tears (Ps.126:5- passionate, intimate)
Irrespective of the season (Eccl.11:4)
Irrespective of the time(Eccl. 11:6)
The sower is you! Isaac sowed during famine and reaped a 100 fold (Genesis 26:1 & 12) and continued to be blessed. (Gen.26:13).
2 Corinthians 9: 10 says God will supply the food and will supply the seed for sowing and increase the harvest of righteousness!
Let us allow our hearts to be tilled to become the good grounds to receive the seed – the Word!