For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns (Jeremiah 4:3 KJV)
Plowing in ancient Israel was a process that prepared the ground for seeds to grow after sowing. It breaks up the soil and removes thorns that would injure the growth of the plants. A farmer who sows without plowing is wasting his efforts. The crops will either not grow or will wither because the thorns will choke them to death.
The Lord uses this analogy of farming in ancient Israel to communicate a critical spiritual truth to us. He told the Israelites to break up the fallow grown and not to sow amongst thorns. The farmland is their hearts, and the seed is the Word of God. Fallow ground is hardened soil that is hostile to germination, and thorns are the many things that cause our hearts to not respond to God’s Word.
God was telling the Jews to get their hearts in shape. Think of a farmer who continues to sow thousands of seeds on fallow ground with thorns, thinking some of those seeds might accidentally turn out well. We know this will not work. Similarly, when we try to get spiritual results when our hearts are in a fallow state, there will be a disappointment. For example, we cannot fast and pray as a substitute for repenting and turning away from sin in our lives. Such prayers are comparable to sowing seeds amongst thorns.
Read more: The Cares of this World Chokes the Word.
What is the meaning of breaking up the fallow ground in Jeremiah 4:3 above? What happens when we sow seeds amongst thorns? See Matthew 13:22.
Apply the Word
We should break up the fallow ground in our lives and be careful not to sow our seeds amongst thorns. Spiritual things are not magic or by accident. If we want results, we should be careful to keep our hearts in order.
Is there a fallow ground that you need to plow? Ask the Lord to help you take the steps to break up that piece of land.