It’s TIME to BREAK UP our HARDENED HEARTS: "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)
The prophet Hosea calls upon Israel to repentance, reminding them that a decision could not be postponed, and that God’s blessings could still be restored. Israel had to reestablish social justice (righteousness) and loyalty (mercy) in the land. The only thing that could prevent God’s judgment from falling was repentance and a life of righteousness. The time to come to this repentance and righteousness is now, before the judgment falls. Their repentance will put them into a proper relationship with God, and He can then teach them His ways.
Plowing and planting are the necessary preliminary steps for growing a crop, which eventually sprouts when the rain falls in season. In the same way, repentance would set the stage for restored blessing, which God would eventually rain down on His people. Sowing that which is right and good brings a harvest of blessing from the Lord. Fallow ground is land left uncultivated. When fallow ground is plowed, it produces a particularly abundant harvest, which only God can give (1 Cor. 3:6, 7).
In the above passage, Israel is invited and encouraged to return to God by prayer, repentance, and reformation. What was wrong with Israel? They had tried to serve two masters (Hosea 10:1–2), they had lied to God (v. 4), they had worshiped idols (vv. 5–6), and their hearts were hard and needed plowing up (v. 12). They had sowed the wrong seed in the wrong kind of soil and yet expected to reap the right harvest! The only hope of escape for Israel would be through repentance and seeking the Lord!
For us, it’s no different. It is high time for us to break up our hardened hearts by drawing near to God and seeking Him earnestly through repentance. As God’s word reminds us: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up." (James 4:6-8, 10)