Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, till He comes and rains righteousness on you (Hosea 10:12).
Fallow ground is unproductive, untilled ground. When I was young my dad bought some land in the “country” and built a house there. There were fields of various kinds of produce surrounding my house. One field sat unplowed for a long time. The government paid the farmer to allow it to lie “fallow.”
The ground in this unplowed field had a thin crust over it that made it difficult for water to permeate. When it rained, the water simply ran off into the lowest place. Weeds grew in abundance there.
I noticed that when the farmers would plant crops in an adjoining field, some of the seed would be thrown over into this “fallow” field. They never germinated because the ground was so hard. The seed just lay on top of the soil and produced nothing.
Jesus mentioned four types of heart soil where the seed of the Word is planted. In Mark 4 He mentioned wayside, stony, thorny, and good ground. Fallow ground is much like the wayside, stony, and thorny ground.
Hosea was encouraging Israel to break up their fallow ground or to allow the Word to penetrate their hearts. And it is wise for us to check up on the condition of the soil of our hearts, and make sure that our ground is not “fallow.”
Sin in all its varying forms, unforgiveness, pride, worldliness, self-centeredness, and refusing to walk in love are a few ways that our heart soil can become fallow. The word just won’t produce fruit under these conditions. And the Holy Spirit’s voice is easily “muffled,” just like water rolling off fallow ground!
Breaking up “fallow” ground involves allowing the Father through the Word and the Holy Spirit to show us areas of disobedience, confessing it, and forsaking it. Repentance plows the soil of the human heart and allows the Word to germinate.
If you’ve noticed “weeds” growing in your life, sins that easily ensnare you, or if you notice a hardness in your attitude towards others, let me encourage you to take Hosea’s advice and do some spiritual plowing. The results will be that the seed of the Word will more easily germinate in you and produce a harvest of right living.