“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
Hosea wrote of the spiritual condition of Israel, which at the time, was quite dark. Sin had led them away from the Lord and from the blessed life He had determined for them. Instead of experiencing the bounty God intended, they were on the brink of total ruin. Hosea writes to make clear their present state, as well as to provide the antidote. No matter how bad things may have become, Hosea provides the way back to the Lord.
“Sow for yourself righteousness and reap in mercy. . .”
Sowing is a farming term which refers to the planting of seeds. There are a few basic and unchanging principles that determine the law of sowing and reaping.
First, we will always reap what we sow. If you continue to sow sin or compromise in search of self-fulfilling pleasures, you will only reap heartache, and distance from the Lord. If however, you begin to sow righteousness, by applying the ways of God to your life, you will reap mercy. One translation reads “you will reap in love.”
Second, we reap after we sow. Farming is not a job for the impatient. A farmer knows great effort must be applied to the task, if they are ever going to receive a return on their labors. Too often, people will respond to exhortations like those Hosea gives, by claiming they already tried that. “I tried loving my wife, I tried reading my bible, I tried going to church, I tried… And it did not work”. I wonder, how long have you tried? Did you give as much time to sowing seeds of righteousness as you did to sowing to the desires of your flesh? If you will sow in righteousness, you will reap in mercy, but it will take time.
Finally, we reap much more than we sow. A small bag of seeds will produce bushels of produce. While sowing in righteousness may seem like a lot of work, the benefits far out weigh the cost. Taking the time to invest in your relationship with Christ will return both earthly and eternal rewards. When Peter spoke of all he had given up to follow Christ, Jesus replied,
Mark 10:29-30 “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life.”