Fallow Ground

BREAK UP THE FALLOW GROUND

(Pastor Lee Jackson – FFWC)

1)    INTRODUCTION – IN THE BOOK OF HOSEA GOD CALLS ISRAEL TO REPENTANCE FOR THEIR PERSISTENT SINS AND THEIR GROSS IDOLATRY AND IMMORALITY. HE PROPHESIED TO THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL (10 NORTHERN TRIBES) DURING ITS LAST 30 YEARS OR SO BEFORE THE ASSYRIANS DESTROYED THEIR CAPITAL SAMARIA IN 722 BC.   IT WAS GOD’S DESIRE BECAUSE OF HIS LOVE FOR THEM, THAT THEY AVOID THE CERTAIN AND SEVERE JUDGEMENT THAT WOULD COME IF THEY DID NOT QUICKLY REPENT.  DURING THIS TIME ISRAEL WAS ENJOYING A TIME OF ECONOMIC PROSPERITY AND POLITICAL PEACE THAT PRODUCED A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY.  (A LOT LIKE OUR COUNTRY BEFORE SEPTEMBER 11TH 2001.)

A)   GOD COMMANDED HOSEA “TO TAKE AND ADULTEROUS WIFE”.  HE MARRIED GOMER, A HARLOT, THAT WAS UNFAITHFUL TO HOSEA.  GOMER WAS NEVER SATISFIED BUT TO CHASE AFTER OTHER MEN.   THIS WAS A REAL LIFE EXAMPLE OF ISRAEL’S UNFAITHFULNESS TO GOD WHO HAD LOVED THEM AND HAD ESTABLISHED HIS COVENANT WITH THEM.

B)   HOSEA HAD THREE CHILDREN WITH GOMER.  GOD INSTRUCTED HOSEA TO NAME THEM SO AS TO REFLECT HIS SORROW AND GRIEF OVER THE SINS OF ISRAEL AND HER BACKSLIDDEN SPIRITUAL CONDITION:

a)    THE FIRST SON WAS NAMED JEZREEL, THE CITY OF JEHU’S BLOODY BRUTALITY THAT SO OFFENDED GOD. (2 Kings 10:1 – 14) IN NAMING HIS SON JEZREEL, HOSEA (GOD) WAS SAYING TO ISRAEL THE TIME OF RETRIBUTION HAS COME.

b)    THE SECOND CHILD WAS NAMED: LO-RUHAMAH MEANING “NO MERCY”.  GOD WAS SAYING TO ISRAEL, THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING.  RETURN TO ME.  IF YOU DO NOT THERE WILL NO MERCY SHOWN TO THEM.

c)    THE THIRD CHILD WAS NAMED LO-AMMI MEANING “NO LONGER MY PEOPLE”.  GOD WAS SAYING TO ISRAEL THAT BECAUSE OF THEIR GRIEVOUS SIN AND UNREPENTANT HEART THAT THEY WERE NO LONGER HIS PEOPLE.

C)   THE MESSAGE OF HOSEA IS THAT:

a)    GOD LOVED ISRAEL, A PEOPLE OF HIS COVENANT, AND INTENSELY DESIRED TO TURN THEM FROM THEIR SIN AND GIVE THEM ANOTHER CHANCE.

b)    TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES FOLLOW IF THEY CONTINUED TO DISOBEY GOD; REJECTING HIS REDEMPTIVE LOVE.

D)   THROUGHOUT THE BOOK GOD IS PLEADING WITH ISRAEL TO TURN AWAY FROM ITS SIN AND ITS IDOLS, BUT THEY WOULD NOT.

2)    THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WERE FARMERS FOR THE MOST PART.  EXTRACTING THEIR LIVING FROM THE LAND.  GOD SPOKE THEM IN TERMS THAT THEY WOULD UNDERSTAND. MY TEXT IS FOUND IN  HOSEA 10:12 “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.”

A)   FALLOW GROUND IS GROUND THAT HAS NEVER BEEN PLOWED OR WAS ONCE PLOWED AND PLANTED AND CULTIVATED BUT HAS LAIN BARREN FOR YEARS.

a)    WHEN LAND WAS ONCE PLOWED AND LAYS BARREN IT BECOMES HARD ON THE SURFACE AND THE RAIN RUNS OFF OF IT VERY QUICKLY TAKING THE TOP SOIL WITH IT, DEPLETING THE NUTRIENTS.

b)    THE PREDOMINATE CROP THAT GROWS ON IT IS WEEDS; IT IS NOT PRODUCTIVE.

c)    THE RAINS COME AND BRING EROSION BECAUSE THERE ARE NO CROPS AND NO ROOTS TO HOLD THE SOIL INTO PLACE.

B)   GOD WAS TELLING THE ISRAEL THAT THEIR SPIRITUAL LIVES WERE LIKE FALLOW GROUND.  THEY WERE TO BREAK UP THEIR FALLOW GROUND WITH TEARS OF REPENTANCE AND SOW TO THEMSELVES THE SEEDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT THEY MAY REAP IN MERCY.

C)   OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES CAN BECOME LIKE FALLOW GROUND IF WE DO NOT ATTEND IT. TOO MANY CHRISTIANS AND CHURCHES ARE NOT UNLIKE ISRAEL.  WE DO NOT WORSHIP BAAL BUT THE GOD’S FOR THIS WORLD: MATERIALISM, PLEASURE AND POWER.  WE BECOME RELIGIOUS AND HAVE A PRETENSE OF GODLINESS BUT HAVE NO VITAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST.  THERE IS A LACK OF SPIRITUAL FRUIT AND FRUITFULNESS IN THEIR LIVES.  THIS MIGHT INCLUDE YOU.  I WOULD BE GOOD TO CHECK OURSELVES FOR THE SIGNS:

D)   YOU ONCE ACCEPTED CHRIST WAS IN THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING A VITAL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM, BUT SOMETHING HAS GONE WRONG AND OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM HAS GROWN COLD – YOU HAVE LOST YOUR 1ST LOVE.

a)    YOU HAVE LOST OUR DESIRE TO ATTEND CHURCH REGULARLY, OTHER THINGS HAVE BECOME MORE IMPORTANT OR YOU ARE JUST TIRED.

b)    YOU HAVE LOST THE DESIRE TO READ THE BIBLE AND STUDY GOD’S WORD AND WHEN YOU DO YOU CANNOT SEEM TO RECEIVE ANYTHING FROM IT BECAUSE YOUR MIND HAS NOT BEEN RENEWED. (ROM 12:1 – 2)

c)    YOU HAVE LOST THE DESIRE TO PRAY AND DO NOT HAVE A REGULAR TIME OF PRAYER.

(i)   WHEN YOU DO PRAY YOU FEEL LIKE OUR PRAYERS ARE NOT ANSWERED AND YOU BECOME FRUSTRATED.

(ii)   YOU PRAY WHEN YOU HAVE A CRISIS SITUATION AND ARE NOT TOO SURE THAT GOD HEARS YOUR PRAYERS.

(iii) PRAYER BECOMES A ONE-WAY FORM OF COMMUNICATION.  YOU PRAY BUT DO NOT HEAR FROM GOD NOR RECEIVE HIS DIRECTION AND GUIDANCE AND WALK IN CONFUSION.

d)    YOU FIND IT AWKWARD TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT THE THINGS OF GOD AND WHEN YOU DO IT IS ON A VERY SUPERFICIAL LEVEL BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT DEPTH IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP IN HIM.

e)    YOU HAVE BUILT UP A RESERVOIR OF UNFORGIVENESS  ANGER AND HOSTILITY; EVERYONE IS DOING YOU WRONG; YOU FIND IT HARD TO TRUST ANYONE.  YOU’RE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS AND THOSE YOU TRUST IS GETTING SMALLER AND SMALLER.

f)     YOU HAVE LOST THE JOY OF THE LORD; YOU BECOME UNEASY WHEN YOU HAVE EXTRA TIME ON YOUR HANDS AND CONSCIOUSLY OR UNCONSCIOUSLY LOOK FOR MINDLESS ACTIVITY TO PASS THE TIME.  YOU SPEND HOURS WATCHING MINDLESS TELEVISION, PLAYING COMPUTER GAMES ETC.

g)    YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE HAS BECOME ROLLY COASTER RIDE TRACKING WITH YOUR EMOTIONS; YOU SPEND YOUR TIME SEEKING AFTER PLEASURE BECAUSE YOU HAVE LOST THE JOY OF YOUR SALVATION.

h)     YOU HAVE NOT LED ANYONE TO CHRIST IN A LONG TIME, IF EVER, AND YOU ARE NOT SURE WHERE TO START; YOU HAVE NO BURDEN FOR SOULS.

i)      YOU ARE NOT USING THE GIFTS THAT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU AND YOU ARE NOT EVEN SURE WHAT THESE GIFTS ARE.

j)      WHEN YOU DO HEAR A MESSAGE WHERE GOD IS TRYING TO REACH YOU, YOU TURN ASIDE AND HARDEN YOUR HEART; YOU TRY TO THINK OF OTHER THINGS AND HOPE THAT IT GETS OVER QUICKLY TO AVOID DEALING WITH THE GUILT AND THE PAIN.

3)    THIS CONDITION, IF NOT DEALT WITH, CAN BE SPIRITUALLY FATAL AND BRING GOD’S JUDGEMENT.  IT IS A COOPERATIVE EFFORT.   GOD WILL DO HIS PART IF WE DO OUR PART.

A)   HE WILL SEND THE RAINS, THE OUT POURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT,  BUT WE MUST PREPARE THE SOIL OF OUR HEARTS TO RECEIVE THE FORMER AND THE LATTER RAIN.  THE FORMER RAIN WAS THE RAIN THE WAS REQUIRED AFTER THE SEED HAD BEEN PLANTED AND IT WAS ESSENTIAL FOR THE SEED TO GERMINATE.  THIS IS FOR THE NEW CHRISTIAN TO HELP THEM GET ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN CHRIST. THE LATTER RAIN WAS REQUIRED AFTER PLANT HAD COME UP TO BRING IT TO MATURITY IN PREPARATION FOR HARVEST.  THE LADDER RAIN IS SO NECESSARY FOR WE WHO HAVE BEEN SERVING GOD FOR A WHILE.  WE GET WEARY IN WELL DOING AND OUR HEARTS CAN GROW COLD BEFORE WE REALIZE IT.  GOD WAS PLEADING WITH ISRAEL:

a)    HOSEA 6:3 LET US KNOW, LET US PURSUE THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD. HIS GOING FORTH IS ESTABLISHED AS THE MORNING; HE WILL COME TO US LIKE THE RAIN, LIKE THE LATTER AND FORMER RAIN TO THE EARTH.

b)   HOSEA 14: 1 – 6:  Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, For you have stumbled because of your iniquity. 2 Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity, And receive us graciously, That we may present the fruit of our lips. 3 “Assyria will not save us, We will not ride on horses; Nor will we say again, ‘Our god,’ To the work of our hands; For in Thee the orphan finds mercy.” 4 I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from them. 5 I will be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like the lily, And he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon. 6 His shoots will sprout, And his beauty will be like the olive tree, And his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon. NAS

B)   OUR PART IS TO RECOGNIZE OUR CONDITION, TO HUMBLE OURSELVES AND TO REPENT OF OUR SINS AND TO SEEK GOD’S FORGIVENESS AND TO SEEK HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS IN OUR LIFE, WHICH WILL BRING FORTH SPIRITUAL FRUIT.

C)   GOD HAS PROMISED TO FORGIVE US IF WE HUMBLE OURSELVES AND SEEK HIS FORGIVENESS:  2 CHRONICLES 7:14 “IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME WILL HUMBLE THEM-SELVES, AND PRAY AND SEEK MY FACE, AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, THEN I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN, AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SIN AND HEAL THEIR LAND.”

4)    CONCLUSION – IF YOU ARE HERE THIS MORNING AND THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS SPOKEN YOU ABOUT THE FALLOW GROUND OF YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE AND THE BARRENNESS OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST THIS IS GOOD NEWS.  IT MEANS THAT GOD HAS NOT GIVEN UP ON YOU AND YOU HAVE ONE MORE OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE THE OUT COME OF YOUR LIFE AND RECEIVE MERCY INSTEAD OF JUDGEMENT.   I HAVE BEEN THERE WHEN THE RIGHTEOUS HAVE PASSED FROM THIS LIFE AND I HAVE MINISTERED TO THOSE WHOSE LOVED ONES HAVE CHOSE TO IGNORE THE MERCY OF GOD.   THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE.  THE FAMILY’S OF THE GODLY HAVE HOPE AND THEIR SORROW IS SUBDUED BY THE CERTAIN KNOWLEDGE THAT THEIR LOVED ONE IS WITH THE LORD.   THE OTHERS ARE LEFT WITH QUESTIONS AND ANXIETY REGARDING THE FATE OF THEIR LOVED ONES, HAVING NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THEY HAVE GONE TO A HEAVEN THAT THEY HAVE NOT PREPARED FOR AND HAD NO REGARD FOR.  IF JESUS SHOULD COME TODAY WOULD YOU BE READY?  I HOPE SO, BUT YOU CAN KNOW SO.  IF YOU DO NOT, I’M GOING TO GIVE YOU ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT WITH YOUR CREATOR.   IF YOU ONCE ACCEPTED CHRIST BUT YOU ARE NOT WALKING WITH HIM, IF YOUR LIFE IS NOT BEARING FRUIT, THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO ASK HIS FORGIVENESS; BREAKUP THE FALLOW SOIL OF YOUR HEART THAT YOU MIGHT RECEIVE GOD’S BLESSING.

 

 

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