Bible · deliverance · encouragement · faith · God · idolatry · life · religion

Sow in righteousness, reap in mercy

When Jehovah delivers us and does great wonders on our behalf, it is easy to start thinking of ourselves as being “all that and a bag of chips” (to borrow some old slang). In reality, God does things on our behalf out of his grace and mercy, not because of any righteousness we may think originated from us. We can be sure danger due to pride lies ahead for us when we assume God’s favor comes from our self-righteousness.

So it was with ancient Israel. After they prospered individually and as a society because of God’s blessings, they got the bighead and began to tell themselves they could live any way they pleased and do anything they were big enough to do and the Lord would still bless them. Then the Lord sent them prophets like Hosea to give them a wake-up call. They became like hardened soil and encouraged themselves to commit evil, thus the Lord said through Hosea:

[12] 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.
[13] Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.
[14] Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled… Hosea 10

It was time for Israel to have a paradigm shift in their hearts and culture away from their wicked habits that bore evil fruit based on lies. It was time for them to get away from idolatry and everything from murder and lewdness (Hosea 6:9), to adultery (Hosea 7:4) and drunkenness (Hosea 7: 5) that went with it.

God’s remedy for their restoration and reformation was for them to conform to his righteousness so they could sow, or minister, to themselves (and each other) in a state of righteousness. Only then could they reap a harvest of good fruit from the Lord in a state of being in his mercy. It was their responsibility to break up the fallow ground of their hardened hearts full of spiritual weeds so God could send them showers of blessings (Ezekiel 34:26) soaking them with his righteousness in both the former and latter rains (Hosea 6:3) of spiritual and material benefits.

According to v. 13 above, they had become secular humanists who thought they were their own gods who could trust in the strength of their human population and human accomplishments. God was about to show them that all the strongholds they trusted in would be crushed (v. 14) to prove his word true in Proverbs 14:34–“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”

What we can learn from Israel’s mistakes is that sowing in righteousness, reaping in mercy, and breaking up our fallow ground are actions we must carry out continually starting in our own personal lives. It should also be shared in various forms with other saints or potential saints so the soil of our hearts remain fertile ground to bear the Holy Spirit’s fruit. We hurt ourselves and others (especially in the church) when we sow among thorns (Jeremiah 4:3) by giving in to the ways of the world, whether porn, or piracy, or the various forms of fornication, or unforgiveness, etc. God called us to be way better than that and has given us the ability to actually live up to his expectations.

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