I think in the midst of our busy schedules, we sometimes forget that we have an all powerful God longing for us to come to Him and seek His face. When thinking about this, the Lord kept bringing the following verse to my mind:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
I don’t know how that verse hits you this morning, but I encourage you to make it your prayer over the next couple of days. See what God wants to teach you!
While looking at Hosea chapter 10, I had an interesting thought. I mean, if you really sit down and think about it, once they were rescued from Egypt, the Israelites had an easy life. Yes, they wandered in the desert and yes, they had difficult times here on earth, but the whole time they were completely loved by God. God watched over them and provided for their every need; He conquered armies and nations before them, cleared and gave them land, and blessed them beyond their wildest dreams. Why would they turn from Him?
Perhaps they became complacent and comfortable, or maybe they began relying on their own strength, but whatever the case, they definitely turned away from God. I’m going to suggest something to you: not only had they lost their focus on the one true God, but they actually enjoyed the “easy life” and didn’t want to change. Lucky for them, God loved them too much to allow them to stay there. Check out the following verse and think about the questions that follow:
“Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh; so I will put a yoke on her fair neck…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 10:11-12)
- What did Ephraim love to do?
- If the Israelites would learn to sow righteousness, what would they reap?
- What does God instruct them to do in the end?
God often uses farming and harvest imagery in the Bible to relate to the people. They would have understood the analogies, since they were used to gathering grain, harvesting wheat and grapes, and sowing seed. I think sometimes this concept is confusing to those of us who are not farmers…myself included. While researching some of these words, here is what I came up with…
- Thresh: to separate the wheat from the stalk of grain; done by cows, this is easy and they are allowed to eat the grain as they go (cows like this)
- Yoke: a heavy, wooden piece used to connect two oxen
- Plow (verb): to break up the earth to make it suitable for planting
Thinking about those definitions, the above verses take on a whole new meaning! Ephraim, or the Northern Kingdom, had become so comfortable in their sin and their everyday life, that they had failed to look at their hearts. They were more concerned about losing their idols (Hosea 10:5), then they were about getting their lives right before God.
God had provided everything for them; they were trained well and following His ways at first. Now they were like the cow who “loves to thresh” to get the grain; they didn’t want to work hard, repent of their sins, obey God, or follow His commands. It was time for them to “break up [their] unplowed ground” and do some work. God saw that they needed to completely change their lives, a process that would prove to be very long, hard, and difficult.
I think the same is true of us today. Many of us have areas in our lives that need to be “broken up” or plowed. What are some areas in your life that you need to surrender fully to God?
God desires to use every part of your life for His glory, but when we have ground that we refuse to work on, it’s hard for God to use it. It’s hard to take a look in the mirror and be honest with God about where you are in your relationship with Him. My prayer for you this week is that you do this…that you ask Him to search your heart and then begin tilling that soil. As women, let’s “break up [our] unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD.”