Using What We Have; March 23, 2018

Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
and showers righteousness on you.

In the middle of condemning Israel’s inexcusable behavior, God gives the prescription for healing. This verse has been set to music in Japanese almost verbatim, and I can’t read it without the song running through my mind. That’s more proof that music is an excellent tool for memorizing Scripture! This verse expresses one of the paradoxes of God’s economy. We are told to sow righteousness for ourselves, and then God will shower (or pour) righteousness on us. To the human mind it would seem that God would have to supply the righteousness before we could sow it. In the larger sense that’s true, but the point is, we have to use what He’s already given us before His greater supply is revealed. The agricultural imagery here perhaps doesn’t click for the modern urbanite, but it’s really very clear. It’s not much use plowing if you don’t have anything to plant, but if you plow in faith, planting what you have, God will give enough and more than enough. Unfailing love is perhaps the most universal of all human desires, and God says the way to get it is to make full use of the righteousness He has already supplied, seeking Him for the more that we need. Throughout the Bible, and especially in Jesus’ teaching of the talents, (Matthew 25:14-30) we are told that our stewardship of what we have been given already is the key to our receiving more, and that poor stewardship brings punishment. This verse would indicate that applies even to such intangibles as righteousness.

This is something I have learned by experience, as well as through reading the Bible. At the same time, it’s something I have had difficulty communicating to others as a pastor. Telling people we have to use everything we have in order for God to pour more out on us tends to provoke a panic reaction! We like to have a cushion, to hold something in reserve, when God wants us to trust Him fully. We need to have the faith of Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice Isaac in the assurance that God could supply another son if necessary. I’m not totally there myself, but I am to apply the faith I have, and seek to bring others along with me. I’m coming to the position that mankind’s biggest problem is pride and the biggest need is faith, expressed as trust. When we don’t trust God with everything we have, we can’t receive everything He has for us. Right now this church is greatly shrunk in numbers. I’m to break up the fallow ground and plant what we have, to receive the harvest God intends for us.

Father, thank You for this Word. Help me understand fully how to apply it, encouraging and equipping the believers to be the salt and light You intend them to be, so that many may be drawn into Your kingdom for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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