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Thursday, May 12, 2022

Hosea 10:12

"It's Always Time To Seek The Lord"

Message summary: It's always time to seek the Lord, in every season of every year of life!

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"Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until He comes and showers righteousness on you" (Hosea 10:12).

We see lots of activity in our farming area really ramping up. As we travel we see farm machinery on the rural roads and in the fields. The workers have been working on the fields around our house preparing to plant (sow) corn.

Many home gardeners, using their residential-scale equivalents of plowing, like rototilling and double digging, are preparing their gardens for this year's variety of vegetables and ornamental flowers.

Farmers plow their fields for good reason since plowing boosts plant growth in the short term. By turning over the first few inches of topsoil, more air is introduced to the soil, providing lots of nutrients to plants, which consequently grow very vigorously.

Produce stand in Lancaster County PABefore you know it, farm stands will soon be open along with flower stands offering various kinds of flower arrangements. A few are already open offering asparagus and other cool weather vegetables and spring bouquets. Oh, how we enjoy the fresh locally gown asparagus during this season!

Farming equipment is vastly different than that described in the Bible times or for that matter much of human history. But our Amish neighbors demonstrate living history in using methods more similar to those used in the Bible. The tools and technology may change but the basic fundamentals of soil preparation, sowing and reaping remains the same, as well as the spiritual lessons we can learn.

The daily verse from Hosea lists three verbs related to crop farming; sowing, reaping and breaking up. It’s interesting to me that he doesn’t list them in the order we would expect (that is, breaking up or plowing, sowing and reaping). As I contemplated and studied this I believe there is a reason:

Sow for yourselves righteousness.” In this case the interest is in personal or individual sowing which indicates a responsibility God has given to us regarding our own spiritual growth and development. Paul wrote to the Galatians, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers" (Galatians 6:7-10).

Reap the fruit of unfailing love.” When farmers sow, regardless of how rewarding the sowing may be, they have a purpose and a goal. They want to reap a bountiful harvest! Our farmer friend Galen and his son Darrel will be very busy sowing corn and soybeans. They do so in confidence that they will reap a good harvest in September or October.  As a result of sowing righteous seeds our spiritual harvest will result in "the fruit of unfailing love".

Break up your unplowed ground.” Our lives can get hard like unplowed soil. We need more than surface work; we need the Holy Spirit to do some heavy-duty digging, turning over, refreshing and reaffirming our purpose for living. Hosea uses the metaphor of “unplowed ground”.  Farmers know that a well-prepared field is essential to a good crop. Jesus taught in the Parable of the Sower about the seeds that fell on the hardened path. These seeds never had a chance to take root because the birds came and devoured them.

Hosea 10:12Let us consider a reason Hosea may have placed these three elements in the order he chose. We need to work the soil in an ongoing way so that we keep our hearts soft and pliable to God’s truth. Even after reaping we need to break up the fallow ground. It’s a cycle that will continue all through life since there are many ungodly forces at work in the changing seasons of our lives that will contribute to spiritual hardness and the continual need we have to break up our unplowed ground. Today let’s welcome the Holy Spirit to do His work in our lives. Let us invite Him to “break up our unplowed ground” and sow righteousness so that we reap His unfailing love as a continual cycle in life.

The latter part of our daily verse “For it is time to seek the LORD, until He comes and showers righteousness on you.” This is just as applicable in 2022 as it was some 2700 years ago when Hosea lived. Jesus reinforces this in His Sermon on the Mount when He directs His listeners: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). It’s always time to seek the Lord, not only because we have opportunity to bless Him, but also for the bountiful favor we receive in doing so, for “He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Indeed it's always time to seek the Lord, in every season of every year of life!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Loving Father, I confess to You that my heart can easily become like unplowed ground. Often destructive attitudes that I don’t deal with right away remain in my heart and cause me to be hardened toward You and others that I love. I invite the work of Your Holy Spirit to cleanse, renew and refresh me as I yield my heart to the searchlight of Your Word. As I seek You, Lord, You will come and shower Your righteousness and blessing upon my life as the fruit of Your unfailing love flows out to those around me. I can do all things through Christ who enables me through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Homecoming"  Video  "Bringing In The Sheaves"  Video  Old-Fashioned Bluegrass Gospel

"There Shall Be Showers of Blessing"  Video  Sue Dodge

"Seek Ye First"  Video  Maranatha! Music

Amish wagon
We passed these two Amish boys on Harvest Road Tuesday afternoon.
They learn the work ethic early in life!
Click on photo to enlarge
Field work
We often show the large field across the road from our house but in this photo the machinery is preparing the field to plant corn in the field behind our house.
Click on photo to enlarge

Stephen on tractor
Riding my bike the other evening I visited for a few minutes with our neighbor Stephen, a young farm hand, in his late teens, who was hauling haylage.

Amish team tilling
This morning our neighbor was tilling his field, breaking up the fallow ground.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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