Bible Reading: Proverbs 21:1-31
“Haughty eyes and a proud heart – the unploughed field of the wicked – produce sin” [Proverbs 21:4].
“…break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord” [Hosea 10:12].
Twice in the Old Testament there is a command to “Break up your fallow ground” [see Jeremiah 4:3; Hosea 10:12]. Ploughing breaks up fallow ground and is necessary before seed can be sown successfully. The order is plough, sow, water, and then reap a harvest. The unploughed field is hard and resistant. The field of the wicked remains hard because of haughtiness and pride. According to Hosea they have depended on their own strength and abilities. An attitude of what I can do for God has replaced the right attitude of what God can do through me.
To plough the fallow ground is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in your heart in such a way that in place of hardness and resistance there will be softness, receptivity to the seed of God’s Word and the ultimate result will be a harvest of righteousness. There is a breaking of the human heart that is a work of God and which we allow God the right to do. It is similar to God pruning us, or the remaking of the damaged pot [John 15:1-4; Jeremiah 18:3-4]. David writes, “My sacrifice O God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
The ploughing that brings about this kind of brokenness comes through pain, rejection and trials. Most godly leader go through a period of preparation through pain? For Joseph it was a pit, slavery and a prison! Thirteen years of pain was his preparation for leadership. David was hated and hounded by the jealous King Saul but they were eight formative years in his life. Daniel faced death before he became Prime Minister of Babylon! Dr. A.W. Tozer said, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man until He has hurt him deeply.” C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.” The way that you handle the trials that God uses to break up the fallow ground of your heart will either make you or break you! You will become either better or bitter! The choice is ours!
Why do you think that David called a broken and contrite spirit a sacrifice?
Read James 1:2-4. What should be the effect of trials in the Christian life? What should our attitude be to trials?
If all things work together for good [Romans 8:28], then what does that tell us about trials?
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Break me, mould me, melt me, fill me; Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.