Break up your fallow ground, pull the weeds, turn it until it glistens with Christ’s light! It’s time to seek the Lord!
[SW069] 11/25/12 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2012
“Break Up Your Fallow Ground”
Hosea 10:12 Sow with a view to righteousness,
Reap in accordance with kindness;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD
Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.
It is time for the church to do as God told Israel to do, and that right quick.
The time is short! Many who are true ministers to God are saying this to their congregations.
It’s time to seek (1875) the Lord,
to diligently pursue Him,
to search for,
to seek Him out,
until He comes to rain righteousness on you, O Christian!
Then living water will flow from you, as His living water fills you!
The church, and you yourself, O Christian, look like a luxuriant vine,
very fruitful (v. 1),
but the fruit you produce is your own, and not God’s
and it is for yourself.
When you saw you could produce your own fruit,
and lots of it,
you began to worship yourself —
your charismatic personality,
your business acumen,
And you produced more and more of
your own fruit for yourself.
You became rich, in the natural.
big ministries. The Lord detests these things! (Amos 6:8)
You trusted in your own ability to make your own fruit for yourself
and so your heart became faithless,
smooth, not pricked (v. 2),
your heart became calloused.
You refused to hear the truth, calling it a lie (Jeremiah 43:2).
And so the Lord will tear down what you have built. (v. 2)
You do not revere the Lord (11:7).
You have abandoned your true King,
and call your natural leaders useless. (v. 3)
You speak words, but they are not His words.
You make promises and take oaths to keep them
but your oaths are worthless
because the Lord is not their Author.
Your vows are meaningless, in His eyes. (v. 4)
Therefore judgment has sprouted up!
It is like poisonous weeds in your fields
where you produce your own fruit for yourself,
and this judgment will spoil your self-made fruitfulness. (v.4)
The things you have relied upon are your golden calves:
your charismatic personality,
your business acumen,
They are worthless before the Lord,
man-made ideas and people-pleasing plans
that block people from coming into a place of true worship.
You have become like the house of Jeroboam. (1 Kings 12:27-28)
All that you follow after, all of your idols,
will be carried away,
and that, for your own good. (v. 6)
The Assyrians are at the door . . .
the church, and you, O Christian, are about to be totally overrun.
You are in Beth-Aven, which means “house of iniquity.” (v. 5)
When the Enemy enters and overruns,
you will mourn over your golden calves.
Your idolatrous leaders will say, “Our glory has departed.”
And it will depart, dear ones, for your own good.
The glory that has truly departed,
and that, some time ago,
is the glory of the Lord —
“Ichabod” is written over many a church door.
Rather than sowing with a view to righteousness
and reaping in accordance with checed
(personal involvement, a commitment, loyalty, devotion,
intimacy, marital love toward the Lord),
you have plowed wickedness (toward God AND others — see below),
reaped injustice (toward God AND others, depriving them of truth),
and you have eaten the fruit of lies. (v. 13)
You have deceived yourselves with your own cleverness.
And as the Lord says in Verse 13, tumult is coming to you;
all your fortresses will fall (2 Corinthians 10:5).
If you break up your fallow ground
the Lord will be gracious to you.
He will rain righteousness on you.
It is time to seek the Lord, that you may live! (Amos 5:4, 6)
It is time to seek good and not evil, that the Lord of hosts may be with you! (Amos 5:14)
How do you break up fallow ground?
You must plow it up,
lift it, turn it over, and break up the clods.
Stones have to be removed.
Weeds have to be pulled.
The soil has to be amended,
peat moss and other organic materials added,
to keep the soil loose so roots can easily form and spread.
Fertilizer is added to stimulate plant growth.
Unprepared ground produces only weeds and thistles
that choke out the good
and what is planted is unfruitful,
just as in the Parable of the Sower. (Matthew 13:7, 22)
The church’s weeds are her sins,
her chasing after her own ways,
relying on her own cleverness,
and doing everything in her own strength.
Those weeds haven’t been pulled.
Her soil is in clods and useless,
packed down hard.
so the seed of the Word can’t work its way in (Matthew 13:20).
Her soil is full of rocks that are her sin burdens,
unfertilized with the Holy Spirit’s presence.
So a thorough breaking up is needed!
To break up (5214/5216) means to create a gleaming fresh furrow,
brightly shining and reflecting light
even the light of Christ.
To break up the fallow ground,
you must identify and list specific sins in your life
(I borrow from Charles Finney here).
If any of these are true of you, write them down on your list.
A simple “forgive my sins” won’t do.
You must be specific,
so you may fully understand where you stand with God.
You must make a list so you can take it before God,
and ask Him to forgive you and change your heart.
You’ll need the list to do what is needed to right wrongs against your fellow man.
Sins of neglect (if any of these are true of you, write it down on your list):
Ingratitude toward God — He is the source of all that is good. Do you thank Him daily for all that He gives you? Do you attribute your success to yourself rather than to His goodness?
Lack of love for God — Do you fervently love God? Or is your relationship with Him cold and your spiritual life dry and lifeless?
Neglect of Bible reading — Do you love to read the Word because the Author is in you? Or is it a bore and a chore to you, a mere duty?
Neglect of prayer — Do you pray without ceasing because you are in continual communion with the living God? Or are your prayers mechanical, done just so you can say you prayed?
Poor spiritual attitude (lack of faith, a lackadaisical attitude) — Is your faith strong and vital, so you believe all of God’s promises, or do you often doubt whether what the Bible says is true? Do you approach your spiritual duties with reverence, or an “I could take-it-or-leave it” attitude?
Lack of love for souls of fellowmen (friends and relatives) — Do you regularly tend to and pray for the souls of your loved ones? If some do not know the Lord, do you tell them the gospel, the good news of Christ? Or are you silent in prayer and in words?
Lack of concern for unbelievers — This is hypocrisy. If you do not agonize over the lost, you must not believe in God’s wrath and hell. You are not a Christian at all.
Neglect of family and private duties (neglecting their spiritual advancement) — Do you constantly stir up the coals of faith in the hearts of your loved ones? Do you teach each other from the Bible and pray together? Or does that not happen in your home?
Neglect of watchfulness (keeping your accounts straight with God, watching your conduct) — God calls us to account for what we do, how we act. If that were not true, Paul and Peter and James and the rest never would have had to write letters to the church! Be careful how you walk! (Ephesians 5:15)
Not watching over fellow believers, reproving in a loving way — Do you not care if a brother falls into sin? Will you not speak to him humbly? Do you not go to one who strays from the truth and turn him back? Do you turn the sinner for the error of his way and save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins? (James 5:19-20)
Lack of self-denial — Have you denied your self, taken up your cross, and followed Jesus to Calvary? Or do you still cater to your needs, wants, desires, and make your own plans, totally apart from God?
Active sins (again, if any of these are true, you must write them down on your list):
Worldliness (preoccupation with the things of this world rather than the Lord)
Critical spirit (speaking bitterly of and to Christians — a bitter root!)
Slander (speaking of faults behind a person’s back)
Frivolity before God (taking Him lightly, having no reverence for Him)
Lying (that is, any intended deception)
Cheating (not doing unto others as you would have them do unto you)
Hypocrisy (praying for things you don’t really want, praying mindlessly)
Robbing God (of money, time, gifts)
Hindering others (making insinuations regarding another’s ministry, thereby reducing their effectiveness)
Now confess all of these to God.
Tell Him you now understand your sinful state,
and ask Him to change your heart of stone into a heart of flesh.
Tell Him you want to leave Beth-Aven,
the “house of iniquity.”
Tell Him you want to worship Him from now on.
Ask Him to set your heart ablaze with love for Him.
For those whom you have sinned against, go to them now. Do not delay. (Matthew 5:23-25)
Let the Lord hear your weeping and supplications:
Jeremiah 3:25 “Let us lie down in our shame, and let our humiliation cover us; for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day. And we have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.”
Break up your fallow ground!
Jeremiah 4:3 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem,
“Break up your fallow ground,
And do not sow among thorns.
4 “ Circumcise yourselves to the LORD
And remove the foreskins of your heart,
Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
Or else My wrath will go forth like fire
And burn with none to quench it,
Because of the evil of your deeds.”
To five of the seven churches in Revelation (see Chapters 2 and 3), the Lord Jesus Christ says, “Repent!” If you do not, He will:
–remove your lamp stand (Ephesus)
–make war against you (Pergamum)
–throw you into great tribulation (Thyatira)
–come like a thief (Sardis)
–vomit you out of His mouth (Laodicea)
Seek the Lord, until He comes to rain righteousness on you!
If you will return to Him, He will heal you
and love you freely (14:4)!