Wednesday, February 15, 2012
sowing and seeking; reaping and raining
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
The agricultural metaphor in this passage was not lost on its original audience. Their entire society was based on successful farming. Israel was well familiar with the cycle of sowing and reaping. In fact, the nation was obsessed with agricultural cycles, even in their false religion. When they were entice into Baal worship, it was because the appeal of worshiping Baal was that it was meant to ensure field fertility and a non-stop success in the growing and reaping cycles that were so necessary for survival, commerce and national trade. Baal and his female consort, Ashtoreth, were supposed to bless the soils and bring the rains.
Yet Israel had forgotten that this was what God promised to do in the Covenant. If His people worshiped Him and obeyed His laws, they would never cease to have an abundance in their farms, and their nation would be blessed. That is the origin of this call for them to break up the fallow ground and sow righteousness again. It is a call to repentance and recommitment to the Lord. Seeking His face would help them find that righteousness indeed could rain down on them again.
God's heart is to always honor true repentance. He accepts the prayer of confession, repentance, and commitment to Him. In that condition, we can see Him renew our dry and broken lives. He can bring rain to our deserts. He can cause life to bloom in our dusty and dead hearts. His new rain can again satisfy the thirsty soul-soil of a repentant sinner. And that is more than just something to hope for. It is the real experience of anybody who will return to God on God's own terms.
With springtime just around the corner, the change of seasons will bring new growth and new life will spring up. May that picture of God's steadfast love keep my heart focused on the refreshing rain of righteousness that God wants to always water the seeds of obedience in my heart.