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Fallow Ground

The industrial revolution that transformed the world and brought us much good also forced out of us troves of wisdom that lived in the struggles of farming and other agricultural disciplines. Most of us became far removed from seed, sun, soil, air and rain. Our food now comes from grocery stores wrapped in plastic and we buy it in near complete ignorance of how it was produced. We sadly lost the vocabulary of those agricultural disciplines and the powerful life concepts embodied by it. As sophisticated and shockingly powerful as our technology is today, none of us really understand it like our ancient families understood the earth that produced their livelihoods in rhythms and melodies we no longer perceive.  And this makes it harder for us to understand the bible which was written in the rhythms and melodies of a primeval agrarian culture. 

In the prophet Hosea’s 10th chapter, he uses a number of agricultural references. It is there that we are told how the people of Israel are being chastised for abusing the blessings bestowed upon them by God. They had grown and spread like a vine, while increasing glory and wealth for themselves along the way, but had not stayed true to God or his values. Because of this, God would correct them.  But Hosea gives them (and us) hope and wisdom in the 12th verse.  He tells Israel that they should break up their fallow ground (Hosea 10:12). Fallow ground is ground that has been plowed, but left unseeded for a period of time.  It is ground that is full of potential to grow good things, but has never been prepared to receive either seed or rain or air because it needs new tillage and planting.  Hosea tells Israel in that verse to seek after God, to prepare their hearts to receive seed, and to plant in their hearts seeds of righteousness.  If they do that, he says, then they will reap for themselves a harvest of God’s unfailing love, and that he will rain down on their prepared ground rains of righteousness.  Israel had certainly grown, but they had not planted the right seeds, and they had allowed weeds to grow in their midst.  Hosea is now reminding them of how to cultivate and produce a useful harvest.

The lesson is this.  To reap a harvest, you must prepare your ground. You must break it and make it ready to receive rain and seed.  You then must plant the right seeds. In your life, you must constantly prepare your ground. The seeds you must plant are seeds of righteousness and truth. As LifeSpring Church breaks new ground, may we sow in that ground righteousness, truth, and loyalty to the values of God. May God grow out of that ground a harvest of righteousness that the whole world can see and enjoy.

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