Sow What? 

“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.”

Pastor Jim

 

When Nothing Happens 

Ecclesiastes 8:11
“Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”

Something sinister happens to us when we sin and do not receive an immediate consequence. We begin to think God is OK with our behavior, even though the Bible clearly teaches it is wrong. When we are not struck by lightning or swallowed by a whale, we think we have gotten away with our sin, and can keep on with it, without consequences. If that is the case, we have forgotten the very nature of how sin works. Paul wrote,

Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”

Paul uses the illustration of farming to teach us to make proper investments in our lives. The farmer teaches us at least three things about sowing.

First, we will reap what we sow. If a farmer plants corn seed, he expects to harvest corn. If he plants wheat, then wheat; rice, then rice. The concept is simple, whatever is planted will be harvested. The same is true of our lives. If we make investments into our relationship with the Lord, we will harvest eternal life. Eternal life is not something that begins after we die, but at the moment we receive Christ. Jesus expanded on this idea when He promised His followers would have abundant life. Each time we choose to make spiritual investments, we will ultimately reap spiritual rewards. On the other hand, if we sow to sin, we will reap corruption. Corruption is a process of decay that makes things worse. When metal is corrupted it becomes weak and brittle. The same is true of our lives.

Second, we will reap after we sow. We expect immediate return on our investments. We microwave our food, have our friends on speed dial, and pay for the highest speed Internet connections available. However, sowing and reaping are not always like that. Just as the farmer expects a time gap between sowing his seed and reaping his harvest, so we should expect a delay. Although it may not seem like there are consequences to our sin, they will, in fact, come. Just because we have not been chastened by the Lord, does not mean he approves of our sin.

Finally, we will reap more than we sow. A handful of seed will produce a truck full of fruit, come harvest time. This is very encouraging when we consider the investments we make in the kingdom of God. What might seem like a small investment to us, may in truth, yield great fruit for the kingdom. On the other hand, this should be very frightening when it comes to sin. What we might think of as just a little sin, may in fact, create a massive storm, and devastate our family.

If you are misbehaving and think everything is OK, because you have not been caught, take Solomon’s words to heart. Sit before the Lord, confess your sin and ask for His strength to turn from it. On the other hand, if you are discouraged, because you have been doing right and do not see the benefits, keep in mind, the harvest will come and it will be great.

Pastor Jim