Have you ever recounted a familiar passage of scripture that you think you’ve thoroughly explored, only to be enlightened with another deeper layer of understanding?
I love it when that happens!
During the initial quarantine, we were “church zooming” and studying the parable of the sower and the seed, a beloved analogy of the state of the heart (Matthew 13).
Jesus teaches us a few symbolic representations:
The Sower = Christ
The Seed = the Word
The Soils = the hearts of men
Christ shares the Word with all who will hear.
Some hear but don’t understand, so the evil one pulls them away (soil by the wayside).
Some hear and accept with joy, but have no root and are eventually offended (stony soil).
Some hear, but the worries of life and deceitfulness of riches chokes the Word (thorny soil).
And some hear and understand, allowing the seed to grow and bring forth fruit (good soil).
With this knowledge, a dear sister on Zoom then offered this supporting scripture in Hosea:
“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 10:12)
The Spirit of God fell upon me in hearing this new directive: “break up your fallow ground.” I honestly wasn’t sure what that meant, so I had to dig deeper (pun intended).
Fallow means unusable, uncultivated, unplowed, bare, empty. Research shows that farmers would rotate crops and let land lie fallow, to rest and regenerate. To be ready for planting, the ground must be broken up, plowed, and prepared for seed once again.
The interesting part of fallow ground is that without being broken up, it is literally useless. The ground cannot absorb water. The ground cannot receive seed. The ground cannot be nourished — until it’s broken.
When the scripture says to “break up your fallow ground,” it is instructing us to break our hearts unto the Lord. Hard hearts are dry, unusable ground, overrun with weeds and thorns, which need to be plowed and broken up so that good seed may be sown in them once again.
We have work to do! Break up your fallow ground. Prepare the ground of your heart. Until it’s broken, it cannot receive seed. Until it’s broken, it cannot be nourished. Until it’s broken, it cannot be usable or useful for any good thing.
“And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (3 Nephi 12:19)
We can ask ourselves these questions:
- Is the soil of my heart ready to receive of the Lord?
- Is it hard and dry, needing water and nourishment?
- Do I need to be broken and repent of sin?
- Are there weeds of bitterness, hurt, pride, envy that are preventing my soil from bearing fruit?
- Is my heart the kind of good soil God is looking for, or am I the stony or thorny ground, becoming easily offended or choking out His Word or His Spirit?
- Can God’s Word flourish in my heart?
“For it is time to seek the Lord, till He come…”
The time to seek the Lord is always now. The time was now back in the days of Hosea, and the time is now today. It is time to seek the Lord, break up our fallow ground, and prepare for His righteous rain!
As we visualize this representation of our hearts, let us sow seeds of righteousness daily, that we may reap God’s love and mercy.
Let us remove sin and distraction from our hearts, that our hearts would be broken, soft, malleable, and ready to nourish the Word and Spirit of God.
Let us seek the Lord today, in fasting and prayer, in our daily walk, that He may be near. And let us look forward to His promises being fulfilled and bountiful blessings to rain down upon us as He clothes us in His righteousness. To the work!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.