Ploughed Ground 

Hosea 10:12 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. 

Jeremiah 4:3 For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns…” 

Proverbs 13:23 Abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor, but it is lost for lack of judgement. 

We don’t have to be farmers to recognise that we reap what we sow. Hosea calls a people who had turned away from sowing a right relationship with God, which would produce an abundant harvest of kindness. Instead, they had allowed the soil of their hearts to become hard and evil.  

Fallow ground is land which could be productive but, for whatever reason, has been left dormant, withdrawn from cultivation. Sometimes, this is a good thing because it allows fertility to be restored. The Israelites were required to leave their land fallow every seven years, specifically for this purpose (see Leviticus 25:4). However, if land is left fallow, it becomes hard and overgrown with weeds and thorns. Trying to sow good seed in such soil is foolish because the grain will be choked by the wilderness of thistles, nettles and thorns. This is why Jeremiah gives the warning not to sow among thorns. For the fallow ground to become productive again, it needs to be broken up, cleared of stones and stubble, and freshly ploughed before new seed can be planted. 

Proverbs 13:23 reminds us that a fallow field has the potential to yield a fruitful harvest, but only if we are wise in how we manage our fallow field. Leaving a field fallow will enable it to become more fertile, but, before we can plant good seed, we need to prepare the ground. This necessitates some serious labour to clear the overgrown weeds and soften the soil.  

What are the weeds and hardness in our lives which threaten to thwart our spiritual growth? Maybe anxiety, fear, pride, stubbornness, bitterness, self-interest and sin. Is there some fallow ground in our hearts which needs to be broken up? Are there areas in our lives which we have allowed to remain dormant rather than submitting them to God for Him to use for His glory? Have we allowed ‘weeds’ to grow in us and get in the way of a completely right relationship with God? If so, let’s allow the nourishing rain of the Holy Spirit to soften our hearts, wash away debris and irrigate us so that God’s word can take root in us and yield a bumper harvest. 


Father God, please reveal to me areas of my life which are unproductive and unused which You want to revive and use for Your glory. I submit to You the soil of my heart. Please remove anything which is hindering the work of Your Spirit in my life. I want to produce a bountiful crop of good fruit for Your Kingdom. Please turn waste into fruitfulness, barrenness into blessing, and desert into oasis. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Ian Toone, New Life Church Derby