“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.” – Hosea 10:12 kjv
God is speaking to the nation of Israel. They have done wickedly and through the prophet Hosea, God is warning them of their imminent judgement if they do not get right with him. God loves his people, but he will chastise them when they sin. He also notes in this book how his people perish for the lack of knowledge. Their spiritual leaders were not teaching them the ways of the LORD, but the ways of Baal.
To sow is to plant. When the plant is grown, we reap, or harvest its fruit. In like manner, we are to sow ourselves in righteousness: doing good, obeying God’s commandments, staying in his word, communing with God through prayer, etc., then will we reap mercy and so much more. Mercy is highlighted here because of the wickedness Israel was involved in. God is telling them he will be merciful to them if they get right with him.
Fallow ground is untilled ground, ground that has been grown over since the last crop. Israel’s backsliding caused their hearts to become fallow. It was grown over with sin (idol worship, sorcery and other forms of witchcraft, adultery, and other abominations of the heathen that were among them). God was telling them it is time to break it up (their fallow heart) and sow righteousness.
Let it be our prayer that we do not give in to sin so that our heart will not become fallow and hardened to the things of God.
“Be sober and vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour:” –1 Peter 5:8 kjv