Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up the fallow ground. For it is time to seek the LORD, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
The Plow is an encouragement to those individuals who are called to become and to make disciples by living what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called the extraordinary life. We do not have to live normal unproductive Christian lives devoid of the character of Christ in our lives as we are lulled into becoming like the world. The Western Church has failed to live the Great Commission and discipleship, and has been replaced with no direction and easy believism. We have forgotten our calling. The Great Commission is the command; the Authority is Christ Jesus; the empowerment is the Holy Spirit; God is the Sower and the One who Plows; we are the stewards of His field; and Hosea 10:12 is the call for tilling of the ground of the person called to fulfill the call to become and make disciples.
In this passage from Hosea it is noted there are some tasks we are called to do, but never in our strength, and never according to our plan or will. The following is how Hosea 10:12 is seen in the mind of the disciple living for the kingdom.
Sow for yourself righteousness. This is a call for us as disciples to act; it is a command. In the context of the Book of Hosea this is, in part, dealing with a call to repentance (as mentioned by Tozer in an earlier blog). The nation of Israel was sowing to wickedness and we do the same when we are not serving God. When we serve ourselves we are not serving God and we need to repent and turn from sowing to unrighteousness and turn to sowing righteousness. The Father wants to bless His children, but He cannot when they turn from Him. This passage presents the pattern to follow consistently in our walk with Jesus: plow, plant, and the rain poured down from God leads to spiritual blessing and maturity.
Note the seed we are to sow: righteousness. This is the best seed we can sow and righteousness comes only from God because He alone is righteous. This is seed which will produce abundant crops because it is the seed of the Vinedresser (John 15:1-17). Every action is seed sown, but we are told to sow God’s seed, the seed of righteousness. We can sow to the flesh or we can sow to the Spirit (Galatians 6:7-8) – a clear choice. So our lives are determined by the seed that we are sowing. This is how man and God work together for His kingdom: He provides the seed of righteousness and we have to sow this seed as good stewards instead of sowing the seeds to the flesh. Disciples seek to sow to righteousness and follow the commands of the King.
Reap in mercy. The purpose of sowing is to reap; there is a reward for laboring in sowing (Luke 6:38 and 2 Corinthians 9:6, 10). We just discussed what we are commanded to do and here are the results which follow. We reap in mercy, through God’s mercy, and we subsequently are rewarded. This is not a merited reward, but a reward that flows from His mercy received in His grace. Just as God sows the Word and reaps the harvest, we sow repentance and reap mercy and by His grace. Our reward flows from His abundant mercy which rewards us in great proportions beyond the worth of our labor. This is the abundant life of a disciple walking and working closely with Jesus (John 10:10).
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, he will also reap. For he who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10)
We have a choice every moment to sow to the flesh or to sow to the Spirit – Galatians speaks of a door of opportunity, and it is called today and Hosea calls it now.